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Japanese Vocabulary for Yoga: Physique Components


Welcome to the second article in our three-part information for doing yoga lessons in Japanese!

Within the earlier article, I discussed that once I determined to take yoga classes in Japan I did not suppose I would have any hassle understanding the directions as a result of I knew all of the elements of the physique in Japanese. In the event you learn it, you’ll know that’s not true, I didn’t know all of the elements of the physique, and I used to be a whole numbskull. It is because there are numerous extra elements of the physique than simply your primary 頭, 肩, ひざ, and 足. In truth, there are numerous phrases I didn’t know for extremely particular elements of the physique, just like the names of particular person bones, of which the human physique famously has fairly a couple of.

These are all lists I want I might have had again once I began taking yoga lessons in Japan!

So on this article I will enable you get a leg up and keep away from yoga-related numbskullery by going by way of each the fundamental — and never so primary — phrases for the elements of the physique you may hear in a Japanese yoga class. We’ll additionally undergo vocabulary for instructions, associated prefixes and suffixes, positions, and customary yoga poses. Lastly, we’ll overview a couple of particles which are usually utilized in mixture with these phrases. These are all lists I want I might have had again once I began taking yoga lessons in Japan!

Now, chances are you’ll be considering, that is lots of vocab. And also you’re proper, it’s — however please do not suppose that it’s worthwhile to have every little thing memorized earlier than you even strive doing a yoga class. There is not any must numb your cranium cramming vocab. As an alternative, I recommend a strategic method.

Begin first by wanting by way of the lists and getting a way for the kind of phrases you may hear. Then, go forward and take a look at doing a category. I like to recommend beginning with an internet video, even if you wish to finally take lessons in particular person. You will doubtless hear phrases that you simply’re not acquainted with; if that occurs, you possibly can come again to this text and use it as a reference, both through the class if obligatory, or afterwards as a overview. As I discussed within the first article, making an attempt to recollect new vocab whereas making an attempt to not topple over in crow pose is pretty troublesome, and making an attempt later to lookup these phrases with a decidedly not-fresh reminiscence is, dare I say, nigh unimaginable, so I hope these lists will enable you keep away from that kind of scenario.

Now, onto the vocab!

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

Components of the Physique

Let’s begin with the primary topic of this text — physique elements! These lists do embody primary elements of the physique, so some (or many) of those phrases could already be acquainted to you, however by no means worry! There are in all probability a couple of unfamiliar ones you possibly can be taught as we speak as effectively. We’ll go from head to toe, then transfer onto the superior vocabulary with these extra elusive bones and joints.

Above the Neck

You will have seen most phrases right here on this record as a result of they’re fairly primary. Nevertheless, textbooks usually do not embody おでこ (brow) and あご (chin), that are continuously utilized in yoga lessons.

parts of the body above the neck

視線しせんline of sight


Higher Physique

Many of those phrases might also be acquainted, however one I will take care to level out specifically is 上体 (higher physique). Written out, its that means is fairly apparent, however as I stated within the earlier article, it was a deceptively troublesome phrase to know in lessons as a result of I saved complicated it with its pesky homonym buddy 状態 (situation).

parts of the upper body
上半身 / 上体じょうはんしん / じょうたいhigher physique
手のひらてのひらpalm of 1’s hand

Decrease Physique

Once more, you may doubtless know most of the phrases on this record, however I used to be shocked to understand I hadn’t discovered the phrases for thigh (太もも), calf (ふくらはぎ), or shin (すね) earlier than my yoga lessons.

parts of the lower body
下半身かはんしんdecrease physique
お腹おなかstomach, abdomen
おへそ bellybutton
こしhips, decrease again, waist
お尻おしりbackside, butt
すねshin, decrease leg
足の裏あしのうらbackside of the foot, sole
つま先つまさきtoe, tip of toe
かかとかかとheel of foot
アキレス腱あきれすけんAchilles tendon

Bones, Joints and Different Superior Vocabulary

Okay, now we’re able to enter extra technical territory, however please do not fret — there isn’t any must memorize all these phrases without delay. Maintain this record to make use of as a reference and use it to overview after your yoga class. Many of those phrases come up fairly continuously in yoga classes, so chances are you’ll discover that you’re going to begin to bear in mind the phrases organically with out even practising.

bones and joints
首筋くびすじnape of the neck, again of the neck
鎖骨さこつclavicle, collarbone
肩甲骨けんこうこつscapula, shoulder blade
胸骨きょうこつsternum, breastbone
背骨せぼねbackbone, spine
背筋せすじbackbone, line of the spine
みぞおち pit of the abdomen, photo voltaic plexus
股関節こかんせつhip joint
座骨ざこつischium (a part of pelvis)
腸骨ちょうこつilium (a part of pelvis)
尾骨 / 尾てい骨びこつ / びていこつcoccyx, tail bone


Now that we’ve the physique coated, let’s take a look at phrases that let you know the place to maneuver these physique elements: instructions! You could be acquainted with most of the phrases right here out of your Japanese textbooks, however there are different methods of claiming primary phrases like 前 (ahead), 後ろ (behind), and 上 (above) that you simply won’t have encountered. For instance, 前方 is used nearly interchangeably with 前, however it’s not as generally taught in typical textbooks.

前 / 前方まえ / ぜんぽうentrance, or ahead
後ろ / 後方うしろ / こうほうbehind
〜の方〜のほうcourse of 〜
左右さゆうleft and proper
両方りょうほうeach side
反対はんたいreverse facet

This subsequent record can also be associated to instructions, however centered particularly on the various methods to point “above” and “beneath.” You generally hear yoga lecturers utilizing phrases just like the “sky” and “floor” to imply “above” and “beneath” in English yoga classes, proper? It is the identical in Japanese yoga lessons, too.

頭上ずじょうabove head

Prefixes and Suffixes

Now let’s take a look at prefixes and suffixes. You might bear in mind from English class {that a} prefix is a linguistic ingredient that’s positioned originally of a phrase to vary its that means. For instance, “uni-” is an English prefix meaning “one,” as in “I noticed a unicorn using a unicycle.” With a suffix, the ingredient is positioned on the finish of the phrase.

Sure prefixes and suffixes get paired up with phrases for physique elements or instructions, and you may usually hear them in Japanese yoga classes.

Prefix/SuffixStudying That meansInstance (Translation)
〜幅〜はば width of …肩幅 (shoulder width)
〜側〜がわ… facet右側 (proper facet)
〜先〜さきtip of …指先 (fingertips)
〜度〜ど… diploma90度 (ninety diploma)
両〜りょう〜each …両手 (each arms)
真〜ま〜proper …真上 (proper above)



Earlier than we get to formal yoga poses, there are phrases for a couple of widespread physique positions that instructors will usually use interchangeably with the identify for the pose in yoga, or when explaining do a extra sophisticated yoga pose. For instance, lecturers could use 仰向け (mendacity face-up) to as a shorthand for corpse pose, or say to maneuver into 四つん這い (getting on one’s arms and knees) earlier than explaining what to do subsequent.

うつ伏せうつぶせmendacity face-down
仰向けあおむけmendacity face-up
正座せいざsitting on the knees
合掌がっしょうplacing palms collectively
四つん這いよつんばいgetting on one’s arms and knees, getting down on all fours

Fundamental Yoga Poses

Now let’s take a look at names for some widespread yoga poses. After all there are numerous extra poses than I’ve coated right here, however this record will take you fairly far. I’ve primarily included the Japanese variations of the poses, however please word that relying in your teacher or yoga studio, chances are you’ll hear the Sanskrit or English phrases used as an alternative.

仰向けの合蹠のポーズあおむけのがっせきのぽーずreclining certain angle pose
仰向けのねじりのポーズあおむけのねじりのぽーずreclining spinal twist
椅子のポーズいすのぽーずchair pose
板のポーズいたのぽーずexcessive plank pose
upward dealing with canine pose
warrior I pose
開脚の前屈のポーズかいきゃくのぜんくつのぽーずwide-legged ahead bend
合蹠のポーズがっせきのぽーずcertain angle pose, cobbler’s pose
木のポーズきのぽーずtree pose
子供のポーズこどものぽーずkid’s pose
コブラのポーズこぶらのぽーずcobra pose
三角のポーズさんかくのぽーずtriangle pose
屍のポーズしかばねのぽーずcorpse pose
四肢のポーズししのぽーずlow plank pose
downward dealing with canine pose
reverse warrior pose
体側を伸ばすポーズたいそくをのばすぽーずprolonged facet angle pose
杖のポーズえだのぽーずworkers pose
トカゲのポーズとかげのぽーずlizard pose
猫のポーズねこのぽーずcat pose (or cat and cow pose)
牛のポーズうしのぽーずcow pose
ねじった三角のポーズねじったさんかくのぽーずrevolved triangle pose
ハイランジはいらんじexcessive lunge
ハッピーベイビーのポーズはっぴーべいびーのぽーずcompletely happy child pose
花輪のポーズはなわのぽーずyogi squat
針の糸通しのポーズはりのいととおしのぽーずthread the needle pose
舟のポーズふねのぽーずboat pose
三日月のポーズみかづきのぽーずcrescent moon pose
山のポーズやまのぽーずmountain pose
弓のポーズゆみのぽーずbow pose
立位前屈りついぜんくつstanding ahead bend
鷲のポーズわしのぽーずeagle pose

Particles Generally Utilized in Japanese Yoga Courses

Lastly, I would wish to introduce a couple of particles that usually get paired with the phrases we have simply discovered. These are fairly primary particles although, so be happy to skip this part for those who already really feel such as you’ve received the dangle of を, に, and から.

Particle を

The particle を marks the direct object in a sentence. The direct object is the factor that’s acted on or affected by the verb. For instance, in case your yoga instructor says, “Subsequent, we’ll circle our shoulders,” “we” is the topic (the individuals/factor doing the motion, on this case the circling), “will circle” is the verb (the motion the topic — we — will do), and “shoulders” is the direct object (the factor that receives the motion — or what’s being circled). So, in a Japanese yoga class your instructor would say:

  • 肩を まわします。
  • Subsequent, (we)’ll circle our shoulders.

In English, we do not mark the direct object in any particular means, however in Japanese the direct object is straight away adopted by the particle を. So our instance sentence, we all know that 肩 (shoulder) is the direct object as a result of it’s adopted by を. (And I will shortly remind you right here that, as within the sentence above, topics usually get dropped in Japanese sentences — for extra on that, see Particle が (Topic): Topic Omission.) Because the very nature of yoga lessons entails performing some verb-action with a physique half/direct object, you may hear を very often.

Particle に

Yoga lecturers use the particle に in a couple of other ways. One of many widespread makes use of is marking the precise course or location the place your physique half must be, or will probably be. For instance, in case your yoga instructor says to tilt your physique, they might use に to mark the course try to be tilting your physique in direction of.

  • 体を左側に かたむけて…
  • Tilt your physique to the left facet…

The particle に will also be used to point the results of a change. Yoga instructors will usually use this model of に after they let you know to transition to a brand new pose or place. Within the following sentence, 仰向け (mendacity face-up) is marked by に, so に signifies that 仰向け would be the results of the transformation, or in different phrases, the place to maneuver into.

  • 仰向けになります。
  • Lay down face-up.
    (Actually: Flip your self into the laying-down-face-up place.)

One other time chances are you’ll hear the particle に in yoga lessons is when it’s used to show な-adjectives into adverbs. For instance, 水平すいへい is a な-adjective that means “degree” or “horizontal.” When adopted by に, it turns into an adverb.

  • 右足を床と水平に げて…
  • Carry your left foot [so that it’s] degree with the ground…

Particle から

Particle から is just like the English preposition “from,” and it marks a starting level. In yoga lessons, to say issues like “exhale from the mouth,” から will get used.

  • 口から いき きます。
  • Exhale from the mouth.

Take 5: 5 Pocket Phrases for Prepared Reference

Whew! Now, we have simply coated lots of phrases, however as I stated earlier than, there isn’t any want so that you can get overanxious and attempt to be taught all this vocab earlier than you strive your first lesson. In truth, please don’t do this! One of many joys of studying Japanese by doing one other exercise is that there is plenty of alternatives to be taught vocabulary organically. Nevertheless, it actually does not harm to be taught a couple of phrases earlier than you begin, or preserve a brief record of phrases in your pocket — and so I current Pocket Phrases! These are 5 phrases from this text that I believe could be most useful to know earlier than beginning. They’re phrases that you could be be unfamiliar with, however they arrive up on a regular basis in yoga lessons. Heat up by practising these 5 phrases, or simply put ‘em in your pocket!

視線しせんline of sight
背筋せすじbackbone, line of the spine
股関節こかんせつhip joint
仰向けあおむけmendacity face-up




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