Learning a new language

Kathy Krugerlove, perspective, yoga18 Comments

Learning a new language can give you a whole new perspective as you grapple to make sense of how other people see the world and so find new meaning yourself – you know the whole Eskimos having hundreds of words for ‘snow’ thing.

We attach language to those things that are important to us – descriptive, emotive words and sometimes beautiful, poetic turns of phrases in order to convey a depth of meaning – so Eskimos distingush “aqilokoq” for “softly falling snow” from “piegnartoq” for “the snow [that is] good for driving sled”.

In English we talk of love, and mean affection. We speak of compassion and kindness and passion and romance that are mere parts of love. We write of love that joins not shackles, that unites not trusses together, that inspires and motivates, not compels and obliges – an unconditional love that means you try as hard as you possibly can without having to try hard at all. The love I feel for my kids.

We quote Shakespeare and Keats and any number of great poets and yet still we don’t capture the meaning, the language of love.

Learning a new language challenges your brain and twists your tongue, and in my case twists my body too.

Yep, I’m a word nerd who brings my love of language to the mat, but also a fear that I will never have words enough to express yoga.

You see the hardest challenge I think with taking on yoga teacher training may be learning the Sanskrit words for the postures, or asanas, I’ll be studying.

funny-yoga-dog

Meditating dog, not downward dog (or Adho Mukha Svanasana)

It’s not that at 45 my brain is ‘fading’ faster than my body, but I’m practicing physical yoga regularly and there is muscle memory there, which I suspect may be more reliable than my recall of Sanskrit words like: UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA. (26 letters long).

Basically, standing on one leg is quite funny – also known as standing leg stretch to toe. And if you want to add a twist to face your head in the opposite direction to your outstretched leg and arm then it becomes PAVRITTA (rotated) UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA.

90-extended-hand-to-toe-pose-utthita-hasta-padangusthasana

This is one of the most difficult balance asanas, but then balance is never easy

I’m all little worried I might put my PADA (foot) in it, when it comes to spitting out the correct Sanskrit terms of the postures I’ll learn (I have 89 in a yoga teaching manual I’m studying, one a day, prior to staring training in 3 months).

Officially three months to go and lots to learn before I even start. 

The longest asana term I’ve come across: Triang Mikha Ekapada Pashminottanasana’ or ‘three-faced forward bend’ is 33 letters long! Not sure I can do the pose either!

I also want to remember yoga ‘words of wisdom’, let them seep into my soul, so I can learn the lessons and convey them to those I might teach one day.

Because the best yogis don’t just instruct, they enlighten.

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ~ BK Iyengar.

Pretty wise words there.

Because:

The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.~ Yogi Bhajan

and:

You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ~ Sharon Gannon

and then:

A mind free from all disturbances is Yoga. ~ Patanjali.

Yep, my mind is feeling rather blank right now. Must remember to have fun!

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Must remember to laugh, and breathe too!

Linking up with the lovely Jess for another IBOT. 

Love to know any tips for learning languages or new things in general? What was the last thing challenging you studied?

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Kathy KrugerLearning a new language

18 Comments on “Learning a new language”

  1. Bec @ The Plumbette

    Learning another language can be challenging. I learned Japanese in high school and wished I continued to learn it after school but I had little use for it and wanted to learn about business so I could get a job.

  2. coloursofsunset

    Good lucky lovely! I’m sure after a short time you’ll have them all comitted to memory. As a side story, years ago I wanted to do tae kwon do – I had done it as a teen and thought it might be good for health and fitness. The class I went to wanted us to count to 10 doing the moves, but not in English, in Chinese (?) or something. I ended up quitting simply because I couldn’t be bothered to learn 1-10 in a new language! Young and naive back then, such a shame. Enjoy! xo Aroha

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I do know the numbers 1-10 in Chinese, but then my kids are Chinese and Miss Yin has been having lessons. Mind you I hardly know much more, which is such a shame. I think it will be good for this (old) brain.

  3. mummywifeme

    Wow that is alot of difficult yoga terms to learn. I much prefer the easier terms downward dog and child pose for example. Loved the last meme too 🙂

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I think I will be using the common terms most of the time – most of the teachers do, but there is something about embracing the whole of the yoga learning experience that makes me want to learn the Sanskrit as well as I can.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Some of the long names sound pretty intimidating don’t they – they funny thing is the longer names aren’t necessarily the harder asanas to actually do. Thanks for visiting again.

  4. snippetsandspirits

    You will be fab. We remember pictures better than words. Write the words out in a sequence on a mind map. Then it will be easier to visualise the words and moves associated. Best of luck!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks for these tips Sarah, especially the mind map – I think it will be a combo of visual, written, verbal and physical learning – hopefully it will sink in.

  5. Jodie@FreshHomeCook

    Sounds complicated but so worthwhile! I have been trying to teach myself Spanish – no real reason – I just always liked the sounds & tones of it. It is really hard to get my head around, but my kids have been sitting with me & they are picking it all up so easily! They amaze me! All the best with it! 🙂

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jodie – yes kids are so much better at picking up languages. Spanish sounds lovely and is very useful since a lot of the world’s population speak Spanish. I’m sure it is good for our brains as we get older.

  6. Caz @ Home Heart Haven

    I love the rhythm and sounds of the original Sanskrit names. Can you source a recording of them to listen to when you’re driving etc? That way your brain can learn them more like a song and more in line with the way we naturally acquire language. I’m loving hearing about your yoga adventures 🙂

  7. claireyhewitt01

    It might not sound like much, but I am learning, one recipe fail at a time, to cook better meals. My extended family still think I can’t boil an egg, but one day I will host a dinner and surprise them all!

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