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Japanese Vocabulary for Yoga: Actions


Seize your mat and settle your self into a pleasant comfy seat! It is time for the final article in our three-part information to doing yoga lessons in Japanese.

Within the first article, I talked about some challenges of doing a Japanese-language yoga class. Within the second, I launched a lot vocabulary for physique components, instructions, and poses you in all probability have to do some yoga simply to stretch out the crick in your neck you bought from scrolling by means of all of it. However there are nonetheless some phrases we’ve not coated but, specifically those that truly do the crucial work of describing actions and actions: verbs.

What was difficult was there are sometimes a number of totally different verbs that categorical the identical type of movement you are verb-ing.

What I discovered difficult about studying the verbs I heard in yoga lessons wasn’t that they had been significantly exhausting phrases to recollect (not like all these phrases for bones), or that I hadn’t ever encountered them earlier than (once more, not like all these phrases for bones), or that I could not perceive what they meant within the second (not like … a few of these phrases for bones). What was difficult was there are sometimes a number of totally different verbs that categorical the identical type of movement you are verb-ing. After all, that is true in English, too. For instance you could possibly say “bend your again” — or you could possibly say curve, bow, arc, or arch your again as an alternative. However selection is the spice of life, and what quite a lot of verbs we have now to discover at the moment! It’s unquestionably a spicy life we’re main.

We’ll cowl a prodigious quantity of those verbs on this article, however first we’ll evaluation some verb types and take a look at how verbs are utilized in yoga lessons. We’ll additionally cowl some katakana phrases (which regularly perform as verbs) and a sprinkling of onomatopoeia (which can provide additional information on how it’s best to do a verb). It is actually plenty of vocab, however I positively do not count on you to be taught these phrases abruptly earlier than trying even one little downward canine. Within the first article and second article I focus on some methods for the way to use these vocab lists and be taught key phrases. And, as within the second article, on the finish of this text I will recommend 5 phrases to check that can assist you get began. I hope these lists enable you really feel ready to attempt some yoga lessons in Japanese and that you simply refer again to them as you proceed your yoga journey. Now, let’s get shifting!

Conditions: This text assumes you already know hiragana and katakana. If you want to brush up, take a look at our Final Hiragana Information and Final Katakana Information.

Verb Types

Earlier than moving into the lists of verbs, let’s first check out the methods you would possibly hear verbs utilized in your Japanese yoga lessons. Whereas each teacher can have a special type of speech, the types of verbs they use are typically comparable as a result of what they’re asking you to do — to maneuver by means of a sequence of established poses — tends to be comparable. There are just a few verb types and patterns specifically that you’ll hear fairly incessantly, so being aware of these gives you head begin. We’ll check out the て kind, ます kind, and ましょう kind, and the compound verb kind 〜ていく. In yoga lessons, every of those tends for use as a technique to information you thru actions and poses, however realizing the nuances of every kind will assist you will have a greater grasp of what’s occurring or what’s about to occur subsequent.

て kind

The て kind is usually used for describing sequential actions. So, once you hear て-form, you possibly can count on to listen to directions for an additional motion to comply with after.

  • かた まわして…
  • Circle your shoulders, and…

ます kind

The ます kind is a well mannered kind. Instructors use it to clarify actions step-by-step (both what they’re about to do or what they’re at present doing) in an expert tone.

  • 両手りょうて ろします。
  • Decrease your fingers.

ましょう kind

The ましょう kind is the volitional type of the ます kind. Instructors use it to encourage doing the identical motion in an expert, but pleasant tone.

  • むね こしましょう。
  • Let’s elevate our chests.


〜ていく is a mix of the て kind and the verb 行く (to go). Though chances are you’ll not run into this sample as typically in your common Japanese research, yoga lecturers (and health instructors on the whole) use 〜ていく fairly incessantly. Identical to common verbs, additionally, you will usually hear the compound verb 〜ていくconjugated into the て kind, ます kind, or ましょう kind, as in 〜ていって, 〜ていきます, 〜ていきましょう.

Identical to the opposite types to date, lecturers use 〜ていく to instruct their college students to do one thing, normally a motion. Nonetheless, the nuance behind 〜ていく implies that the motion will occur step by step.

  • 上体じょうたいを右に かたむけていきます。
  • (Regularly) tilt your higher physique in direction of the fitting.

Different Verb Types

After all you will hear instructors use different verb types as effectively. The checklist beneath contains some further verb types and grammatical patterns that you may additionally hear every so often in your yoga lessons.

Verb TypesExamples
Causative kind あしをリラックスさせます。
Loosen up your legs.
(Actually: Let your legs loosen up.)
〜たまま うでを上げたまま…
Whereas preserving your arms up…
〜ながら いき きながら…
Whereas exhaling….
〜たり足を らしたりしましょう。
Let’s shake out our toes (and shake out different physique components, too).

Verbs for Yoga Actions

woman doing various yoga movements

Now that we have now a greater concept of how verbs are utilized in yoga lessons, let’s bounce into the lists of verbs! As I discussed earlier, generally there are a number of totally different verbs that categorical comparable actions, so fairly than itemizing them alphabetically, the verbs are organized by motion. I’ve additionally included instance sentences for every verb. These are based mostly on sentences in precise yoga lesson movies, so I hope the examples offer you a way of how the phrases are actually used and what you possibly can count on to listen to in yoga lessons.

Bending, curving, curling up

前屈するぜんくつするto bend ahead腕を ばして、前屈します。
Stretch your arms and bend ahead.
to bend; to curve ひざを曲げます。
Bend your knees.
丸めるまるめるto make spherical; to curve up 背中せなかを丸めて…
Spherical your again and…

Drawing shut, getting nearer, bringing nearer

近づくちかづくto strategy; to attract close to; to get shut ひじ ひざを近づけます。
Carry your elbows and knees shut collectively.
引き寄せるひきよせるto attract; pull one thing in direction of oneself 肩甲骨けんこうこつを引き寄せます。
Draw your shoulder blades collectively.
引っ張るひっぱるto tug右の 手首てくびをつかんで引っ張りましょう。
Let’s seize our proper wrists and pull.
抱えるかかえるto hug 仰向あおむけに て、 両膝りょうひざを抱えます。
Lie down face-up and hug each knees.

Extending, lengthening, stretching

伸ばすのばすto increase; to stretch
(Regularly) lengthen your backbone.
伸びるのびるto increase; to stretch
伸びを かんじましょう。
Let’s really feel the strech. 
広げるひろげるto unfold; to broaden両足を大きく広げて…
Unfold your legs huge, and…

Decreasing, bringing down

降ろすおろすto convey down; to decrease両手を ゆかに降ろしたら…
As soon as you place your fingers down on the ground…
下げるさげるto decrease しりを下げて、チャイルドポーズ。
Decrease your butt, then — kid’s pose.
倒れるたおれるto fall; to fall down少しずつ前へ倒れていきます。
Fall ahead step by step.
倒すたおすto convey down両膝を右の方へと倒します。
Carry each knees all the way down to the fitting.
引き下げるひきさげるto tug down肩甲骨を引き下げて…
Pull your shoulder blades down, and…

Shifting, finishing up, repeating

動かすうごかすto maneuver 骨盤こつばんも動かしていきましょう。
Let’s begin shifting the pelvis as effectively.
行うおこなうto carry out; to do; to hold outおだやかな 呼吸こきゅうを行います。
Take some enjoyable breaths.
(Actually: Do some enjoyable respiratory.)
繰り返すくりかえすto repeatこの ながれをもう一度繰り返します。
Repeat this sequence as soon as once more.

Inserting, placing, arranging, reaching

置くおくto place; to put左の足をマットに置いたら…
As soon as you place your left foot on the mat…
揃えるそろえるto align; to rearrangeマットの 前方ぜんぽうで両足を揃えます。
Align each toes on the high of the mat.
つく to place両手を床について…
Put each fingers on the ground, and…
合わせるあわせるput one thing collectively;
to match (rhythm)
Put your fingers collectively in entrance of your chest, and…

Elevating, rising, citing, lifting up

起こすおこすto liftゆっくり上体を起こしていきます。
Start to lift your higher physique slowly.
浮かすうかすto drift右足を浮かせます。
Maintain your proper foot within the air.
(Actually: Float your proper foot.)
引き上げるひきあげるto tug upみぞおちを上に引き上げます。
Pull within the pit of your abdomen
(Actually: Pull up the pit of your abdomen.)
持ち上げるもちあげるto elevate up あごを持ち上げて…
Raise your chin up and…
見上げるみあげるto look upward ななめ上を見上げます。
Look diagonally upwards

Releasing, unraveling, loosening, returning

解放するかいほうするto launch膝を抱えて…両手を解放します。
Hug your knees… and launch each fingers.
抜くぬくto let loose体の力を全部抜きましょう。
Let’s let loose all the strain in our our bodies.
ほどく to undo; to untie; to unfasten指をほどきます。
Unfasten your fingers.
ほぐす to melt; to loosen 股関節こかんせつをほぐしていきましょう。
Let’s start to loosen our hip joints.
緩めるゆるめるto loosen; to loosen up くび うしろを緩めましょう。
Let’s loosen up the again of the neck.
戻すもどすto place again; to return左足を もとのポジションに戻します。
Put your left foot again in its unique place.

Twisting, crossing, entwining

絡めるからめるto entwine ゆびを絡めて腕を伸ばしましょう。
We’ll entwine our fingers, after which let’s stretch our arms.
組むくむto cross (legs or arms)右足を左ももにかけて足を組みます。
Put your proper foot in your left thigh and cross your legs.
ねじる to twistウエストを右へねじりましょう。
Let’s twist our waists to the fitting.
ひねる to twist背筋を左へひねります。
Twist your backbone to the left.

Respiratory, feeling, resting

吸うすうto inhale はなから息を吸って…
Inhale by means of the nostril and…
吐くはくto exhale口からゆっくり吐きます。
Exhale slowly from the mouth.
感じるかんじるto really feel伸びを感じて下さい。
Please really feel the stretch.
休むやすむto relaxationチャイルドホーズで休みます。
Relaxation in kid’s pose.

Different Verbs

つかむ to seize 両方りょうほうの手ですねをつかみましょう。
Let’s seize our shins with each fingers.
開くひらくto open; to unfold out胸を開いて…
Open your chest and…
向けるむけるto show one thing towardsつま さき 天井てんじょうに向けます。
Flip your toes in direction of the ceiling.
向くむくto face towards上を向きます。
Face upwards.
沈めるしずめるto sink胸をマットに沈めて…
Press your chest into the mat, and…
(Actually: Sink your chest into the mat, and…)
傾けるかたむけるto tilt上体を前に傾けます。
Tilt your higher physique ahead.

Katakana Phrases

In yoga lessons you will additionally probably hear katakana phrases (English loanwords) used right here and there. I’ve included among the commonest phrases beneath. No matter what a part of speech the phrases are in English, they perform as nouns in Japanese. Nonetheless, these katakana phrases are sometimes accompanied by the verb する, which means “to do,” and thus used as verbs. Be aware that in some instances, as in just a few of the instance sentences beneath, する could also be omitted, however the katakana phrase remains to be functioning as a verb.

Push in opposition to the ground with each fingers and…
リラックスりらっくすloosen up息を吐いてリラックスします。
Breath out and loosen up.
Slide your hip in direction of the fitting.
Twist your higher physique to the left.
Float your proper foot up and maintain it there.
Keep as you’re and maintain your breath.
Swap toes.
(Actually: Change toes.)


Adverbs play an necessary position in explaining how to do a motion. Listed below are just a few adverbs you will generally hear in yoga lessons.

Exhale gently.
しっかり firmly足の うら 大地だいちをしっかりと みます。
Step (and maintain onto) the bottom firmly with the soles of your toes.
ゆっくり slowlyゆっくりと体を起こします。
Increase your physique slowly.
Let’s elevate our proper arms up excessive.
まっすぐ straight背筋をまっすぐに伸ばして…
Lengthen your backbone in a straight line and…
水平にすいへいにhorizontally, even右足を床と水平に持ち上げます。
Raise your proper foot (in order that it is) even with the ground.


Japanese onomatopoeia for yoga

Japanese is thought for having all kinds of onomatopoeia. In English, we regularly consider onomatopoeia as phrases that signify sounds, like “bang” or “hiss,” however in Japanese onomatopoeia may describe circumstances, actions, and emotions. In yoga classes, instructors will use onomatopoeia to assist college students intuitively perceive the sense and really feel of actions, and thus the way to execute them.

When describing actions in yoga directions, onomatopoeia are used as adverbs and paired with 〜と. For instance, ぎゅっ is an onomatopoeic phrase that expresses tightness or firmness. If you wish to use ぎゅっ with にぎる, a verb which means “to squeeze,” you want to add と and say ぎゅっにぎる (squeeze tightly).

In yoga classes, instructors will use onomatopoeia to assist college students intuitively perceive the sense and really feel of actions, and thus the way to execute them.

One last item to notice is that you could be hear barely totally different variations of onomatopoeia. These variations are normally considerably comparable sounding, with just some slight variations. For instance, ぐるっ is an onomatopoeic phrase used for describing actions like spinning or making circles, and there are a number of totally different variations of this phrase that can be utilized interchangeably, together with ぐるぐる, ぐるーっ, and くるっ. It is fairly straightforward to sense that these are associated to ぐるっ, proper? The primary variation, ぐるぐる, makes use of repetition, which can point out doing one thing time and again. Within the second, ぐるーっ, the vowel sound is lengthened, which suggests a way of continuation. And within the third variation, くるっ, the voiced sound ぐ is modified to the voiceless く. Onomatopoeia with voiced sounds have a way of being louder, rougher, or extra intense than these with voiceless sounds. So in case your instructor makes use of くるっ when she says to circle your arms, you would possibly make tight, extra managed circles than if she used ぐるっ — wherein case circle your arms with wild abandon. Past these three, there are different kinds of variations that you simply would possibly hear, so whereas the checklist beneath solely covers one model of every onomatopoeia, remember that chances are you’ll come throughout totally different variations of those, too! For a lot of, many extra examples of Japanese onomatopoeia and details about their formation and variations, take a look at Kristen’s article Japanese Onomatopoeia: The Definitive Information

ぐるっmaking circles; with a circling movement両肩をぐるっと回します。
Rotate your shoulders such as you’re making circles.
ぎゅっtightly肩甲骨をぎゅっと 中央ちゅうおうに寄せます。
Draw shoulder blades collectively tightly in direction of the middle.
だらーんin a dangly manner手をだらーんと よこに下ろします。
Decrease your fingers to your sides and allow them to dangle.
ぶらぶらwith a swinging or swaying movement手足を持ち上げてぶらぶら ります。
Raise your fingers and legs and shake them with a swinging movement.
すっeffortlessly; shortly左足をすっと浮かせて…
Let your left leg float up effortlessly and…
すとーんabruptly; with a thump肩の力をストーンと抜きます。
Loosen up your shoulders abruptly.

Take 5: 5 Pocket Phrases for Prepared Reference

Now, we have coated a lot vocabulary simply on this article, you may not ensure the place to start out. With that in thoughts, I wish to enable you get a jumpstart with 5 Pocket Phrases. As I launched in the second article, Pocket Phrases are just a few phrases I selected from this text that I feel could be most useful to be aware of. You possibly can both research them earlier than you get began, or put them in your pocket and seek advice from them if you want to throughout a lesson.

前屈するぜんくつするto bend ahead
伸ばすのばすto increase; to stretch
吸うすうto inhale
吐くはくto exhale
きゅっ tightly

Able to Dive into ダウンドッグ?

お疲れ様でした!Now that you have bent, stretched, floated, and entwined your manner by means of this checklist of phrases, I hope you feel prepared to offer yoga classes in Japanese a attempt! Whereas we actually did not cowl all of the verbs and onomatopoeia you would possibly encounter in Japanese yoga lessons, utilizing these lists as a research information and reference gives you basis.

However let me stress once more that it’s best to not stress about realizing all of those phrases instantly. Realizing just a few will definitely assist — you can begin with the Pocket Phrases I’ve prompt, or select one phrase from every part. Then, simply drift. As you do extra classes, you will probably hear your teacher utilizing these phrases and have the ability to reinforce your vocabulary. On the similar time, you will begin to choose up some unfamiliar phrases. If you do, come again after class and use this text as a reference — see if you could find these phrases you were not aware of, and begin the method once more: you will strengthen your vocabulary whereas smoothing out your vinyasa!

Lastly, I’ve written another articles for fellow Japanese studying yogis, so if you have not learn my earlier articles, please go take a look on the Study by Doing! Vocab to Jumpstart Your Japanese Yoga Journey web page too!

Better of luck in your Japanese and yoga journeys! It may be intimidating to start out doing one thing utilizing your Japanese, however I hope this sequence offers you the step up you want to get began. I am cheering for you!




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