Last Updated: October 19, 2017

Definition - What does Shala mean?

Shala is a Sanskrit word that means “house,” “abode,” “home” or certain other types of buildings. In the context of yoga, a shala is a yoga studio, or “house” of yoga. It's most often associated with the Ashtanga style of yoga.

A yoga shala is a place where the physical practice of yoga – asanas – is taught, but it also provides a nurturing and supportive environment for yogis to gather, share experiences and grow in their practice.

Yogapedia explains Shala

There are other types of shalas, as well. A dharmashala is a rest house for religious pilgrims, or a religious sanctuary. Constructed at pilgrimage sites, the dharmashala tradition is found in Hinduism, Jainism and Tibetan Buddhism. An atithishala is a guesthouse, typically at an ashram.

Shala is also a type of tree native to the Indian subcontinent that has religious significance. It was said that the tree was a favorite of Lord Vishnu and that the Buddha was born while his mother grasped a branch of the tree.

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