Here’s how busy yoga enthusiasts and French language learners can kill two birds with one stone. Plus download my free visual yoga post chart with 39 yoga pose names in English and French (in two different styles).
Improve Your French While Watching French Yoga Videos Online
Yoga has been pretty trendy in France; however, I could never really get into the classes at my local gym. That all changed in March of 2020 when most of the world went into lockdown. During this period of social distancing, gyms were closed, and people were left to their own devices.
Determined to stay active and fit, I turned to youtube in search of exercise workouts I could do at home in place of my gym workouts that required little to no equipment. Then one day, a Yoga video in my recommended video feed caught my eye, so I gave it a try.
You might be interested in reading 13 Fun Beginner Home Workouts You Can Do At Home When You Can’t Get To The Gym.
Benefits of learning French from watching yoga exercise videos
I live in a bilingual household in France, so learning the yoga poses’ names in both French and English was important to me.
I committed to practicing an hour of yoga every day for 30 days. I repeatedly watched a handful of my favourite yoga videos in French and English until I knew all the poses in each video and their names by heart in both languages.
This made following the yoga classes so much smoother because I could follow the voice prompts and didn’t have to keep looking up at the television.
“That’s when I made the connection between language learning,” which I’m sharing with you today.
Repetition is the common link between language learning and yoga.
As it so happens, repetition and consistency are a proven method for improving your yoga technique and helping language learners build familiarity with the language and retain new vocabulary long term.
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, the visual aspect of watching yoga exercise videos in French helps support listening comprehension and vocabulary recall. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to learn French body part names and movement vocabulary.
And for those of us short on time, optimizing your time by combining two activities into one (French + yoga) is a huge time saver.
But exercise has other benefits on our brain and learning that’s proven by science.
Exercise also helps your brain learn better and retain information easier.
Several studies done in recent years have shown that exercise can alter the biology of parts of the brain, which helps the brain prepare to learn and makes retaining information easier.
Researchers at the University of British Colombia conducted a study that found regular aerobic exercise may boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning (source: Harvard Medical School).
Although yoga isn’t technically an aerobic exercise, yoga helps the brain in ways that are similar to aerobic exercise, according to a study of yoga effects on brain health.
Besides having a positive effect on key areas responsible for memory and information processing, regular yoga practice also has the added benefit of emotional regulation and mood improvement, which contributes to better overall brain health and functioning.
Yoga Poses: Vocabulary in French and English
To kick start your French Yoga vocabulary, I created a printable PDF which you can download and print for free. It contains images of 39 yoga poses (Les postures) in both French and English.
Something to keep in mind is yoga instructors (in both French and English) sometimes use multiple names for the same pose. For instance, there is a pose called “la sauterelle in French,” which is also called “la locuste,” which means grasshopper and Locust, respectively. I believe the same is true in English for that pose.
There are many more poses that have multiple names, but for the purpose of this article, I only list the major ones that I have come across myself.
Bilingual Visual Yoga Pose Chart You Can Print At Home (2 versions)
I created a printable PDF which you can download and print for free. It contains images of 39 yoga poses (Les postures) and the names of those poses in both French and English.
List of 39 Yoga pose names in French and English
I’ve listed 39 yoga poses below, which you’ll find on the visual bilingual yoga chart.
- LOTUS – (Le Lotus)
- SHOELACE – (Le Lacet)
- GARLAND – (La Guirlande)
- CHILD’S POSE – (La Posture de L’enfant)
- COW POSE – (La Vache)
- CAT POSE – (Le Chat)
- PLANK – (La Planche)
- COBRA – (Le Cobra)
- UPWARD FACING DOG – (Le Chien tête en Haut)
- DOWNWARD FACING DOG – (Le Chien tête en Bas)
- 3 LEGGED DOG – (Le Chien à 3 Pattes)
- DOLPHIN – (Le Dauphin)
- CHAIR – (La Chaise)
- LONG CRESCENT – (Le Croissant de Lune)
- WARRIOR 1 – (Le Guerrier 1)
- WARRIOR 2– (Le Guerrier 2)
- WARRIOR 3– (Le Guerrier 3)
- HALFMOON– (La Demi-Lune)
- REVOLVED TRIANGLE– (Le Triangle en Torsion)
- GRASSHOPPER / LOCUST– (La Sauterelle) / (La Locuste)
- BOW – (L’Arc)
- 1 LEGGED KING PIGEON – ( Le Pigeon Royal Sur Une Jambe) aka (Le Roi Des Pigeons à Une Jambe) aka (Le Roi Pigeon)
- HALF PIGEON / PIGEON – (Le Pigeon)
- BOAT– (Le Bateau)
- INTENSE DORSAL STRETCH / SEATED FORWARD BEND – (L’étirement de l’ouest) aka (La Pince Assise)
- STANDING FORWARD BEND – (La Pince debout) aka (La Cigogne) aka (La Flexion avant debout)
- CROW – (Le Corbeau)
- HANDSTAND – (L’arbre Droit) aka (L’équilibre sur les mains) aka (L’ATR-Appui Tendu Renversé)
- THE FEATHERED PEACOCK – (La Plume De Paeon)
- KING DANCER / LORD OF THE DANCE– (Le Danseur)
- MONKEY KING -(Le Roi des Singes) aka (Le Dieu Singe)
- STRAIGHT ANGLE -(L’angle assis) aka (L’angle ouvert)
- CAMEL – (Le chameau)
- WHEEL– (Le Pont)
- REVERSE PLANK– (Le Plan Incliné) aka ( l’étirement Intense de l’Est)
- BRIDGE – (Le Demi-Pont)
- PLOW– (La Charue)
- SHOULDER STAND– (La Chandelle) literally “the candle.”
- CORPSE POSE– (Le Cadavre)
40+ French words and phrases related to yoga
In French, a yoga pose is called “une posture de yoga” or “une posture” or “une pose.”
Here are over 40 essential French words and phrases you’ll most likely hear in a French yoga class.
French Yoga Movement Verbs
Movement is a big part of any sport, but in yoga, there are certain ones you will hear more often, such as “inhale” and “exhale.”
- Inspirez = inhale
- Expirez = to exhale
- Respirez = breath
- Respirature = breath ( the noun, as in “your breath”)
- profondre= deep
- Souple – flexible
- Asseyz-vous – Sit down
- Allongez-vous – Lie down
- Gardez cette position – Stay in the position / Don’t move
- Se détendre = relax
- Relâcher = to release
- étirer = to stretch
- Fléchir / plier = to bend
- à quatre pattes = on all fours
- Accrochez les doigts – Interlace your fingers
- Allongez-vous sur le dos– Lie on your back
- Allongez-vous sur le ventre – Lie on your stomach
- Fermez vos yeux – close your eyes
- Baisser – to lower
- Fléchissez les pieds – Flex your feet
French body parts
It’s essential that you know the names of body parts in yoga.
- Le Corps – body
- La tête – head
- La Nuque – Neck
- Le Dos -Back
- Les épaules– shoulders
- Les bras – arms
- Les mains -hands
- Les jambes – legs
- Les genoux– knees
- Les cuisses -thighs
- Les Pieds – feet
- les pieds nus – barefoot
- Articulation – Joints
Yoga Class & equipment
Like most sports, you’ll need some equipment.
- une séance de yoga – yoga session
- Séance de Yoga Débutant – Beginner yoga session
- une classe de yoga – a yoga class
- un cours de yoga – a yoga class
- une sangle – strap
- un tapis – a mat
- un tapis de yoga –
- un sac de yoga – yoga bag
- un coussin – a cushion
- une brique – block
Put it to the test: Try one of these French yoga instructors on Youtube
Whether you are looking for a dynamic morning yoga session or a restorative yin yoga class, Ariane has a class for everyone and all levels- Meditation, pranayama, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin and also mudras and mantras. She published her first video in 2013 and has published one every Friday since. She is a certified Yoga Instructor from the Yoga Alliance since March 2012.
Whether you’re looking to warm up with joy and energy or relax meditation session, Jo’s got a video for you! No matter what your yoga level or abilities, her calm tone will guide you in your practice. Jo posted her first video Yoga video in 2016 and posts new videos every week.
Chloé is from Belgium and has been posting relaxing yoga classes online since 2018. What I like about Chloé is how peaceful and relaxed I feel whenever I follow one of her yoga videos.
Georgia is a hatha yoga teacher who’s been sharing her life tips since 2011. She teaches her yoga classes with a lot of passion, love and enthusiasm.
Sandra has been posting videos since around~2014. She speaks very clearly and explains all the movements.