Krishnamacharya on what is yoga

Krishnamacharya on what is yoga

In the West, Krishnamacharya is mostly known for his contribution to the revival of the more physically oriented disciplines and practices of hatha yoga.  Therefore, he is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga.”  The notion that Krishnamacharya practiced and taught yoga that was somehow “new” or “modern” is primarily due to the many distortions or misunderstandings about the link between the physical practices of hatha yoga and the meditational practices of raja yoga.   He was the conservator of the ancient teachings of raja yoga.
As a master of yoga and a great scholar, he practiced and linked the physical practices of hatha yoga with the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.    Listen to the great master on what is yoga. (Thanks to family Mohan and and Svastha Yoga.)


Krishnamacharya was unique in many ways — as a master of yoga, as a teacher, as an Ayurvedic physician and as a scholar.

In the West, Krishnamacharya is mostly known for his contribution to the revival of the more physically oriented disciplines and practices of hatha yoga.  Therefore, he is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga.”

The notion that Krishnamacharya practiced and taught yoga that was somehow “new” or “modern” is primarily due to the many distortions or misunderstandings about the link between the physical practices of hatha yoga and the meditational practices of raja yoga.   He was the conservator of the ancient teachings of raja yoga.

As a master of yoga and a great scholar, he practiced and linked the physical practices of hatha yoga with the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.    Let us listen to the great master on what is yoga.

Krishnamacharya:  Yoga is an awareness, a type of knowing.  Yoga will end in awareness. Yoga is arresting the fluctuations of the mind as said in the Yoga  Sutras (of Patanjali): citta vritti nirodha.  When the mind is without any movement, maybe for a quarter of an hour, or even quarter of a minute, you will realize that yoga is of the nature of infinite awareness, infinite knowing.  There is no other object there.”

During my interview of Krishnamacharya in 1988, he continued to expand on his personal experience of this yogic state of samadhi.

This state of samadhi — the pinnacle of sustained mental focus and the goal of classical yoga — can be reached through pranayama.  Krishnamacharya used to say that pranayama is critical among the eight limbs of yoga.  The practice of pranayama is preceded by the practice of the mudras and the practice of asanas.  These are truly amazing photos of the great master.

In addition to his mastery of asanas, Krishnamacharya was able to bring the involuntary functions of the body — like the heartbeat — under voluntary control.  Let’s listen to Indra Devi, one of his students who witnessed Krishnamacharya’s demonstration of stopping his heartbeat in the late 1930s.

Indra Devi:  “I saw him first time in Mysore and it was during, I think, during Dasara time and Sri was demonstrating to the guests of the Maharaja, his school…  So he was doing yoga postures.  And at the end, he said:  ‘Are there any doctors in the audience?’  And so, among the guests… ‘Ok, then please come up and check.  I’m going to stop my heartbeat for several minutes.’  And so he took a deep breath and just lied down on the floor and very close to me was sitting a German doctor.  He came back shaking his head and said:  ‘I would pronounce the man dead.’  Because he had a stethoscope and everything.   And several doctors came.  Then I was startled.”

He was not only a master of yoga but also had titles equivalent to doctoral degrees in all the six Vedic darshanas.

Krishnamacharya taught yoga for nearly seven decades.  He started teaching yoga under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore in the 1930s.  Indra Devi, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois studied with him during this period.  Let’s listen to Indra Devi about her experience with Krishnamacharya at that time.

Indra Devi:  “… and then wanted very much to go to Mysore where at that time Sri Krishnamacharya had a school and the Maharaja was the patron of school in the wing of the old Jaganmohan Palace.  And so I came first just to present myself and ask permission.  He had only men and only boys and only Indians in school.  At that time, I was (with) a hat like this on and you know came to the yoga school … (audience laughing) Ah, he politely declined. (audience laughing)  Said he only has men and only boys and only Indians and he couldn’t do this and that.  But since the Maharaja was the patron of the school and I was a private guest of the Maharaja and the Maharani, so the Maharaja just asked him to accept me.  So against his wish, he accepted me and his earnest kind of desire was to see me behind the door as far as possible.”

What was Krishnamacharya teaching during the 1930s?  The silent film from 1938 contains the yoga practice of Krishnamacharya, his wife and children, and B.K.S. Iyengar, who was also the brother of his wife.

An analysis of this 1938 video will reveal that Krishnamacharya’s teaching was based on this principle — “Teach what is appropriate for each individual.”

Video of Krishnamacharya’s children – 5 to 7 years old

He taught jumping asanas to his children, who were 5 to 7 years old.

In an interview, B. K. S. Iyengar recalled that Krishnamacharya taught vigorous jumping movements to him.

B.K.S. Iyengar:  “Well, you know it is very difficult for a boy of 14-15 years to analyze what my Guruji was teaching, what type of yoga was teaching, or something like that, you know?  Well, I can say it’s like a drill system to a very great extent… So, naturally my Guruji  must have thought that for these martial people, like martial art, yoga has to become a martial art to train them. So there were vigorous, rigorous movements what you call today ‘vinyasa,’ which is jumping movements from asana to asana which you have seen in my 1938 film.  So, that was the way he was teaching.”

Let’s see that.

Video of Iyengar – 20 years old

Video of Krishnamacharya’s wife – 24 years old

The Acharya taught differently to his wife to strengthen the organs in the lower abdomen.  Although his wife and Iyengar were almost the same age, Krishnamacharya taught them very differently.  He did not teach deep backbends to his wife.

Video of Krishnamacharya – 50 years old

Now, watch the practice of Krishnamacharya when he was 50 years old.  Although it appears as if he is doing just head stand, he was actually practicing the viparita karani mudra, which involves long, deep breathing and suspension of breath and bandhas with mental focus.

Krishnamacharya wrote a book called Yoga Makaranda in 1934.  Part I of this book was published by the then-Maharaja of Mysore.  Part II was not published. This is the file cover of the original type written manuscript of Part II.  His son, Desikachar, and myself had classes together on some texts like the Yoga Sutras.  During the 1970s, we reflected on and attempted to edit this manuscript but its publication did not come to fruition.

In Yoga Makaranda Part II, the Acharya not only details the methodology for each asana but also cautions against the use of force in the practice of asana.  Let us listen to Krishnamacharya’s caution as recalled by Indra Devi.

Indra Devi:  “And I remember in one of the classes in the beginning, when everybody was doing the paschimottanasan, (seated) forward bends.  Well, with the feet on the floor stretched, and you inhale, exhale, and you touch your toes.  My hands were so far from the toes that I asked one of my co-students to just to push me from the back, and Sri told me, ‘No, no, no.  You can injure a rigid muscle.  You will do it by and by.’  And I remember, on the floor, looking up at him and saying:  ‘In my next incarnation!’” (audience laughing)

Currently, there are several misconceptions and confusions regarding the teaching of the Acharya.  There is a notion, for instance, that he was innovating his teachings over a period of time.  He did not.  He always taught what was appropriate for each individual.  The purpose and the capability of the person determined the practice.  He always designed the practice depending on the person and the purpose.

To a question on “Should the asana practice be done fast and why not?”, Krishnamacharya replied that fast movements, and in turn, fast breathing will disturb the flow of prana and will result in imbalances.  Slow movements with long inhale and exhale will help with proper prana flow and mental focus.

His personal practice was always with long deep breathing and mental focus. Observe the position of his head, the lower abdomen and his mental focus.  He was always concentrated on the inner alignment through breath.

According to Krishnamacharya, practice and knowledge must always go together.  He used to say, practice without right knowledge of theory is blind.  This is also because without right knowledge, one can mindfully do a wrong practice.

He also did not mix up yoga and religion.  As a Vaishnavite, he kept the wooden sandals of his religious guru.  He did not keep the sandals of his yoga guru, Ramamohana Brahmachari, and never asked his students to pay homage to his Vaishnavite lineage or the padukas.

There is only one yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is also known as raja yoga.  Hatha yoga, laya yoga, and mantra yoga each have four steps.   They involve the practice of some of the eight limbs of the Yoga Sutras, like the yamas and niyamas.  They merge into the sixth limb of yoga, dharana, which leads to samadhi. Krishnamacharya with his depth of knowledge and practice was clear about these connections.

In the 1930s, Krishnamacharya tried to resolve the prevailing confusions among the then-yoga luminaries. He later recalled:

“In 1933 through 1937, some people were talking about different varieties of yoga, like hatha yoga, raja yoga, and kundalini yoga.  Some said that the kriyas were the most important, and that that was (true) yoga.  I was in the yoga school in Mysore, under the patronage of the king.  I wrote letters to well-known yoga teachers like Paramahamsa Yogananda, Kuvalayananda, and Yogindra, saying that we should have a meeting and resolve such confusion.  Eventually, however, no meeting took place and nothing came out of the correspondence.”

Currently, the confusions have become manifold with the addition of brands, labels, traditions, and lineages.

The goal of the physical practices of hatha yoga is to lead to the mental states of samadhi described in the Yoga Sutras.  Absence of knowledge of the connections and the practice has resulted in many confusions and distortions. The discernment that Krishnamacharya spoke of so many decades ago is even more important now.

On November 18th, we celebrate his 125th birth anniversary.  I vividly remember this day, 25 years ago on his 100th birthday, as I was the convener of his centenary celebrations.  Krishnamacharya would have been extremely happy that his tireless perseverance in propagating yoga has resulted in millions of people now practicing yoga around the world.  He would want all of us to carry on the ancient and authentic teachings of yoga as they have been conveyed to us by the sages.

Let the message not be lost.


Invitation and news

Sangha Yoga & Mental Health.

a free network meeting

In 2011, I started to organize meetings. I met people from different professional fields/ disciplines and yoga lineages, but we all had in common that we agreed that yoga could be great to add to existing therapy to the patients in Mental Health care. During these meetings there is room to exchange knowledge and to network.

With this INVITATION: join for free! Please send an email if you are planning to come.

  • When: Thursday September 12th 16.00u – 18.00u
  • Where: Delight Yoga location Weteringschans 53, Amsterdam (the beautiful 1st floor room)

On request a special edition: We will talk about Trauma Sensitive Yoga. So, please join when you did a training on this subject and share experiences (maybe match up with others?)

  • Did you manage to set up a (Trauma Sensitive) Yoga class?
  • Did you manage to set up a yoga class for another special population?
  • How did you do this?
  • What are difficulties in setting up such yoga classes?
  • How did training by David Emerson help you (or another training)?

Please join the network on the Facebook-group if you were ever at one of these meetings before. Let’s make this network more useful this way.


I’ll give a talk about Yoga and Social Psychiatry on September 19th ’13 in Amsterdam at the ‘SPV Regiobijeenkomst Amsterdam’. Join for free! (limited spaces). Click here for info. And click here to get tickets directly.

Another talk will be on October 31st at GGZ Noord Holland Noord. The subject will be Yoga and the Social psychiatric treatment of PTSD.

Yoga Magazine.

Please check out the new edition of the Dutch Yoga Magazine (number 3 – 2013) on page 54 and 55 to read about Yoga in Africa. An interview with me, Anneke.


This and more in the newsletter. To receive the newsletter and invitations and updates click here.

Happy GuruPurnima

Thanks to the first teacher that taught me asana and pranayam practices back in the nineties when I was still a teenager. Right there, a first yoga seed was planted.
Thanks to all the teachers that followed. The Ashtangi’s who taught me to be strong and focused. Followed by other great teachers that allowed me to play with a strong foundation and teaching me many yogic tools that empower me so that I can empower others. Thanks to Krishnamacharya, who’s energy is still alive through teachings. These humans were (are) my teachers, mentors and inspirations, and I feel the Guru can be anything or anyone that is teaching me. And I am very grateful for all the Gurus on my path as well as my inner Guru. All that removes darkness. Thank you for the lessons raining down on me, that thought me what Home means, no matter where I am on this earth. This allows me to wander.

Some have living Gurus who they trust and Love. Much is said lately about the modern Guru – sometimes mistaken by Yoga celebrities. Funny how in Yoga, one moves from being a Guru [‘with a subdued mind unshackled from the external and internal sense organs’ (Jois 2002)] – being One of full realization Into a ‘yoga celebrity’. Was the ‘old fashioned Guru’ as fully realized or enlightenment as we think (or hoped or expected) he was?
The word Guru is derived from two words, ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’. The Sanskrit root “Gu” means darkness or ignorance. “Ru” denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore one who removes darkness of our ignorance is a Guru. Gurus are believed by many to be the most necessary part of lives.

Guru Purnima (Guru Pūrṇimā, sanskrit: गुरु पूर्णिमा) is an Indian festival traditionally celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists, to thank their teachers. It is marked by rituals for the Guru. The festival is common to all spiritual traditions in Hinduism, where it is an expression of gratitude toward the teacher by his/her student. On this day, disciples offer puja (worship) or pay respect to their Guru. It falls on the day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh (June–July) of the Shaka Samvat, Indian national calendar and Hindu calendar.

And what a beautiful full moon. Thanks for shining down on us…



Happy Wesak! (Buddha Day)

This wisdom and light that flashed and radiated under the historic Bodhi Tree at Buddha Gaya in the district of Bihar in Northern India, more than 2500 years ago, is of great significance to human destiny. It illuminated the way by which mankind could cross, from a world of superstition, or hatred and fear, to a new world of light, of true Love and happiness.


But what is this about and are the Buddhist teachings connected to the Yogic ones? The Buddha says life is suffering; both the ancient Yogis and the Buddhists point to the kleshas as the causes of our suffering. These “afflictions” distort our mind and our perceptions effecting how we think, act and feel. Here some basic ideas about the subjects in both Buddhist and Yogic philosophy.

The main kleshas vary in intensity on our psyche, from being inconsequential in their effect to utter blindness. The kleshas not only create suffering, but are said to bind us to the endless cycle of birth and rebirth, and thus preventing us from achieving enlightenment.

  • Avidya (ignorance)
  • Asmita (I-am-ness)
  • Raga (attachment)
  • Dvesha (repulsion)
  • Pratigha (anger)
  • Māna (pride)

The first stage of working with the kleshas is to simply acknowledge them. Reflection promotes self-awareness, self-understanding and self-knowledge to uncover and see the kleshas and their roots as well as how they create suffering. The direct opposition of concentration and other yogic techniques can counteract simple kleshas. Gross kleshas are overcome with meditation, tapas and seeking wisdom. The four internal cleansing practices are pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi bring the mind under control. These Yogic techniques are said to burn away the impurities of the kleshas to purify the mind. By ridding ourselves of our kleshas, we are able to clearly see the reality of the world and our own true nature.

The heart of the Teachings of the Buddha is contained in the teachings of the Four Noble Truths, namely,

  • The Noble Truth of Dukkha or suffering
  • The Origin or Cause of suffering
  • The End or Cessation of suffering
  • The Path which leads to the cessation of all sufferings

The First Noble Truth is the Truth of Dukkha which has been generally translated as ‘suffering’. But the term Dukkha, which represents the Buddha’s view of life and the world, has a deeper philosophical meaning. Birth, old age, sickness and death are universal. All beings are subject to this unsatisfactoriness. Separation from beloved ones and pleasant conditions, association with unpleasant persons and conditions, and not getting what one desires – these are also sources of suffering and unsatisfactoriness. The Buddha summarizes Dukkha in what is known as the Five Grasping Aggregates.

Herein, lies the deeper philosophical meaning of Dukkha for it encompasses the whole state of being or existence.

Dukha is spoken bout by Patanjali too. Patanjali’s investigation of dukha is brilliant. The principles of craving, aversion and delusion he found are the same that the Buddha taught. We think craving is a good thing, like a civic duty. But people are surprised to find, when they investigate, that its full of suffering. The experience of craving is unsatisfactory. The real meaning of dukha is “pervasive dissatisfaction.”

Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Dukha is a sense of not being really at home in the moment. It is the war with reality, with what is. The three different kinds of craving are

  • Grasping for another moment other than what we’ve got
  • Aversion or pushing away how it is
  • Delusion or twisting away from reality.

In Buddhism: Our life or the whole process of living is seen as a flux of energy comprising of the Five aggregates, namely the Aggregate of Form or the Physical process, Feeling, Perception, Mental Formation, and Consciousness. These are usually classified as mental and physical processes, which are constantly in a state of flux or change. When we train our minds to observe the functioning of mental and physical processes we will realize the true nature of our lives. We will see how it is subject to change and unsatisfactoriness. And as such, there is no real substance or entity or Self which we can cling to as ‘I’, ‘my’ or ‘mine’.

When we become aware of the unsatisfactory nature of life, we would naturally want to get out from such a state. It is at this point that we begin to seriously question ourselves about the meaning and purpose of life. This will lead us to seek the Truth with regards to the true nature of existence and the knowledge to overcome unsatisfactoriness. From the Buddhist point of view, therefore, the purpose of life is to put an end to suffering and all other forms of unsatisfactoriness – to realise peace and real happiness. Such is the significance of the understanding and the realisation of the First Noble Truth.

The Second Noble Truth explains the Origin or Cause of suffering. Tanha or craving is the universal cause of suffering. It includes not only desire for sensual pleasures, wealth and power, but also attachment to ideas’, views, opinions, concepts, and beliefs. It is the lust for flesh, the lust for continued existence (or eternalism) in the sensual realms of existence, as well as the realms of form and the formless realms. And there is also the lust and craving for non-existence (or nihilism). These are all different Forms of selfishness, desiring things for oneself, even at the expense of others.

Not realizing the true nature of one’s Self, one clings to things which are impermanent, changeable and perishable. The failure to satisfy one’s desires through these things; causes disappointment and suffering. Craving is a powerful mental force present in all of us. It is the root cause of our sufferings. It is this craving which binds us in Samsara – the repeated cycle of birth and death.

The Third Noble Truth points to the Cessation of suffering. Where there is no craving, there is no becoming, no rebirth. Where there is no rebirth, there is no decay. no, old age, no death, hence no suffering. That is how suffering is ended, once and for all.

The Fourth Noble Truth explains the Path or the Way which leads to the cessation of suffering. It is called the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold path avoids the extremes of self-indulgence on one hand and self-torture on the other. It consists of Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

These path factors may be summarized into 3 stages of training, involving morality, mental culture and wisdom.

Morality or good conduct is the avoidance of evil or unwholesome actions — actions which are tainted by greed, hatred and delusion; and the performance of the good or wholesome actions, – actions which are free from greed, hatred and delusion, but motivated by liberality, loving-kindness and wisdom.

The function of good conduct or moral restraint is to free one’s mind from remorse (or guilty conscience). The mind that is free from remorse (or guilt) is naturally calm and tranquil, and ready for concentration with awareness. The concentrated and cultured mind is a contemplative and analytical mind. It is capable of seeing cause and effect, and the true nature of existence, thus paving the way for wisdom and insight.

Yoga explanation in the Yoga sutras consists two words: yoga chitta-critti-nirodah, which may be translated: “Yoga is the restraint (control, mastery) of the modifications (changes, movement, thought-forms) of the mind.”


The word yoga is derived from the root yuj, which means to unite or to join together. The practice of yoga may lead to the union of the human with the divine – all within the self.  According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the classical text on yoga, the purpose of yoga is to lead to a silence of the mind (1.2). This silence is the prerequisite for the mind to be able to accurately reflect objective reality without its own subjective distortions. Yoga does not create this reality, which is above the mind, but only prepares the mind to apprehend it, by assisting in the transformation of the mind – from an ordinary mind full of noise, like a whole army of crazy monkeys – to a still mind.

“Yoga is known as the disconnection (viyoga) of the connection (samyoga) with suffering.” – The Bhagavad Gita

Carl G. Jung the eminent Swiss psychologist, described yoga as ‘one of the greatest things the human mind has ever created.’

Wisdom in the Buddhist context, is the realization of the fundamental truths of life, basically the Four Noble Truths. The understanding of the Four Noble Truths provide us with a proper sense of purpose and direction in life. They form the basis of problem-solving. Wisdom in the Yogic context is found in practice that lead to stillness of the mind. This can be a basis of problem-solving but more important.. this can be the basis of problem prevention and living a happy life.

For now,

Happy Wesak! Happy Buddha Day!

~ Anneke ~

Q&A: In asana practice – left or right foot first?

Question: In the January–April 2004 issue of Yoga Studies, Richard Rosen responded to the question: “I’ve been teaching for a number of years, always leading clients in standing âsana with the left foot or left side. I have always done this because that was what I was taught. Could you please send me any literature references or other references giving the reasoning behind this practice? Does it extend to all âsana, standing or not?”

In this issue, Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, chairman of Yoganjali Natyalayam and the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research in Pondicherry, India (,, further elucidates from the traditional Indian point of view: I felt that I have to try and address some of these core issues for non-Indian Yoga practitioners, as we often have our Western students (never an Indian student!) ask these same questions.

The major problem facing Yoga in the West is the fact that Yoga has been cleaved from Indian culture (sanâtana-dharma; editor’s note: lit. “eternal teaching,” the name traditionally given to Hinduism by adherents). Without an understanding of the Indian (Hindu) culture and way of life from which Yoga originated, it is difficult to find answers to such questions.

The concept of polarity, or balancing the opposites, is vital to both Yoga and Indian traditional life. The right side of the body is related to the solar/positive/masculine flows of energy that are manifest by the sûrya-nâdî, which is related to the termination of the pingalâ-nâdî. Similarly, the left side is related to the lunar/negative/feminine flows of energy that are manifest by the candra-nâdî, which may be said to be the termination of the idâ-nâdî (editor’s note: nâdîs are subtle energy channels).

Traditionally in Indian culture, all daily activities are always started on the right side, because the right side is considered to be auspicious. If an Indian (a traditional Indian, that is) were given an offering by the left hand, he or she would consider it an insult and refuse it! Similarly, receiving anything with the left hand is totally out of the question! Modern Indians tend to be as uninformed as Westerners in this regard, and I am not considering their example here.

When a newly married bride in India comes to her in-laws for the first time, or when we enter the premises of a newly constructed building or any such new “starts,” we always use the right leg first  (as in “put your best foot forward”). Thus, to my mind, the traditional answer to the question would be to start on the right and then make sure you follow it with the left for balance.

In spinal twists, the turn is always clockwise first, as the concept of pradakshina or circumbulation around Hindu temples is always clockwise. It is interesting to note that the Hindu swastika turns clockwise, whereas Hitler’s swastika turns anticlockwise. (Speak of opposite energies bringing about opposite effects! Auspicious in the first and inauspicious in the second.) Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri also always taught us that the energy in the cakras moves in a clockwise direction. If you take ten traditional Indians and ask them to turn around, they will all, at least almost all, turn in the clockwise direction. Twists are thus done first to the right, then to the left.

Regarding the forward and back bending âsanas, when we bend forward we stimulate the solar plexus, and so this is termed the loma, or positive action. When we bend backward, we relax the solar plexus, and this is termed the viloma, or negative action. In practice it is thus better to do forward bends before back bends if we follow the polarity concept.

Some interesting research in South India (at VK Yogas Bangalore) showed that relaxation practices done following strenuous activity provided greater benefit than the pure relaxation practices done alone. Viewed from the standpoint of right and left, if we do the right, or active, side first, then we may benefit more from the practice by ending with the left. This will lead to a state of balance (of steadiness, relaxation). On the contrary, if we do the left, or passive, side first, then we may end up stimulated (hyperenergetic, imbalanced). As Yoga is the science of balance, performance on the right side before the left side may help us to maintain homeostasis (samatvam).

We must also remember that even the term Hatha-Yoga has the right side placed before the left in its esoteric association of ha with the sun and tha with the moon (editor’s note: hatha lit. means “forceful”).

With regard to the common question of how to tell whether one is doing the left side or the right side in standing poses, I would say that the side that bears the maximum weight of the body in the pose is the side one is doing. For instance, many students get confused when they first stand in natarajâsana on the right leg with the left arm and foot raised behind the back, thinking that they are doing the left side because both the left arm and leg are being used, whereas they are actually doing the right.

Of course, all of the above discussion applies to normal, balanced individuals, of whom very few seem to practice modern Yoga! In cases where stimulation is required, as in patients with depression, excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, and so on, then right after left may be preferable.

Studying Yoga: A National Priority?

Studying Yoga: A National Priority?

Yes, that’s right. It was published on the Yoga Journal that P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. appeared on CBS, was claiming that ‘If there was a drug that could mimic the effects of yoga, it would probably be the world’s best-selling drug’.
I do believe yoga has many health benefits!

Doraiswamy is talking about Yoga’s benefits, in addition to relaxation, also he include helping those with ‘mild depression, insomnia and ADHD.’ And he says ‘It affects virtually every tissue and every system in our body.’ I’ll agree. But I think studying health, nutrition and fitness should be an international priority too!


The 5,000-year-old Indian practice — may have positive effects on major psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and sleep problems, according to a review of over 100 studies. Once thought of as a mystical spiritual practice taught by swamis to devout practitioners sitting cross-legged in a cave somewhere, yoga is now everywhere, it has joined the mainstream as both a favorite of celebrities and cultural staple for health consumers.

It is practiced by 15.8 million adults in the United States alone, according to data from the Harris Interactive Service. Although many people seek out their first yoga class looking for a mild form of exercise to keep them in shape and relax them, many find an added bonus — that yoga can calm the mind as much as it can relieve stress in the body. And a study published today in Frontiers in Psychiatry suggests it can also help with the symptoms of serious illnesses.

The analysis reviewed in these more than 100 studies, the effect yoga has on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems. It was found that yoga had positive effects on mild depression and sleep complaints even in the absence of drug treatments, and improved symptoms associated with schizophrenia and ADHD in patients on medication.

Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy is a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center and author of the study. He said yoga helps psychiatric conditions by reducing stress and affecting our emotions and mental status.

“The physical aspects of yoga do affect endorphins, serotonin, and blood flow,” he says. “Yoga also enhances parasympathetic system, which is how it produces the relaxation response and combats stress. Plus yoga also likely affects dozens of other brain chemicals such as antioxidants and reduces inflammatory changes. Long term practice can change brain circuits — what we call neuroplasticity — and enhances cognitive reserve (i.e. our resilience to damage by effects of aging and stress). Yoga also releases nerve growth factors that can boost strength of nerve connection and might even lead to production of new connections. We still don’t fully understand all the many effects and in some studies yoga has been found to affect the function of as many as 5000 different genes.“

Doraiswamys study finds regularly engaging in pranayama (breath control practice) and hatha yoga practices beneficial. “However, yoga has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and patients to differentiate legitimate claims from hype,” researchers said in a statement. “Our goal was to examine whether the evidence matched the promise,” they wrote in the study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Dr. Murali Doraiswamy explained that the emerging scientific evidence in support of yoga on psychiatric disorders is “highly promising” and showed that it may not only help to improve symptoms, but also play ancillary role in the prevention of stress-related mental illnesses. Doraiswamy said his review is preliminary, and based mostly on studies with small samples. He recommends more study, particularly of yoga’s impact on clinical depression and anxiety disorders.

New York Times senior science writer William J. Broad has written about the downside of yoga. Commenting on the study, he said yoga’s benefits outweigh its risks. “A century and a half of science suggests that yoga is a great antidote for depression and related disorders,” said Broad, author of The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards (Simon & Schuster, February 2012). “The risks of yoga tend to be few and rare while the benefits are many and commonplace.”

Biomarker studies

The review found evidence from biomarker studies showing that yoga influences key elements of the human body thought to play a role in mental health in similar ways to that of antidepressants and psychotherapy. One study found that the exercise affects inflammation, neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, lipids, growth factors and second messengers.

“While there has been an increase in the number of medications available for mental health disorders, many of which can be life-saving for patients, there remains a considerable unmet need,” Dr. Meera Balasubramaniam, lead author of the study, said.

Poor compliance and relapse as well as treatment resistance are growing problems, and medications are expensive and can leave patients with significant side-effects. “The search for improved treatments, including non-drug based, to meet the holistic needs of patients is of paramount importance and we call for more research into yoga as a global priority,” said Doraiswamy.

So, that’s really good news again!!

Yoga for the Heart

A week after researchers announced evidence that yoga is good for the mind, a new study has found it appears to work for the heart as well. The latest study, by scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center, looked at yoga’s impact on 49 individuals suffering from atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition. The researchers monitored various indicators of heart health — including blood pressure, heart rate, and episodes of atrial fibrillation, a particular kind of irregular heart rhythm. They found that symptoms improved when study participants attended yoga class at least twice a week while continuing to take their prescribed medication.

Participants experienced an average of two episodes of irregular heart rhythm while taking yoga, compared to nearly four episodes pre-yoga. The study, published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is one of the first to test the effects of yoga on atrial fibrillation. And it was published less than a week after a study found that those suffering from depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions would benefit from yoga.

~ Anneke ~

Meera Balasubramaniam, Shirley Tellesand P. Murali Doraiswamy – “Yoga on our minds: a systematic review of yoga for neuropsychiatric disorders.” Front. Psychiatry, 25 January 2013.

Yoga & Mental Health network meeting

Omdat jij op één of andere manier te maken hebt met YOGA én een SPECIALE DOELGROEP in bijvoorbeeld de gezondheidszorg, ben je uitgenodigd voor de 2-jaarlijkse ‘Y&P netwerk bijeenkomst’. Het doel is netwerken en ervaringen en informatie delen.  Er zijn meer mensen (in en rond Amsterdam) die yogales geven aan een bijzondere doelgroep of yoga therapeutisch gebruiken. En dit geeft de gelegenheid elkaar te ontmoeten in een ontspannen sfeer. 

Wanneer: maandag 24-09-2012 om 16.00u tot 18.00u

Waar: MoleMann Tielens, Hoogte Kadijk 61 hs, 1018 BE Amsterdam (centrum)

Info: of bel: 06-18786883 

Wil je even laten weten of je komt? Er zijn geen kosten aan verbonden, maar netwerken is leuker met meer mensen. Een (kleine) donatie voor een goed doel is natuurlijk welkom!  Tot dan! Groet Anneke – twitter: @Yoga_Amsterdam

Yoga & Mental Health Booklist

The under construction website ‘The House of Love’ is a magnet for information on the subject Yoga and mental health and a place to create network. Because this site is being reconstructed and I still like to share some information, I use this temporary spot for it, my blog. If you have useful information (book tips etc.) you like to share; please email me on and I will add this to this list.

Thanks! Love,



    •  How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health Care. by: Brown, Gerbarg and Muskin.
    • Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing Training
    • The Relaxation Response – Herbert Benson, M.D. (Yogic Mantra Meditation)
    • Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction – Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. (Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Theravada Tradition)
    • The psychospiritual clinician’s handbook, alternative methods for understanding and treating mental disorders’ door Sharon G. Mijares en Gurucharan Singh Khalsa.
    • ‘The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness’ by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal en Jon Kabat Zinn.
    • Amy Weintraub; ‘Yoga and Depression’ (also video)

Yoga & Mental Health Book Store

Books on Yoga & Trauma

  • Herbert Benson – The Relaxation Response
  • Norman Doidge – The Brain that Changes Itself
  • David Emerson – Overcoming Trauma through Yoga, Reclaiming your body
  • Bo Forbes – Yoga for Emotional Balance
  • David Frawley – Yoga for Your Type
  • Stanislav Grof – Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis
  • John Kabat-Zinn – Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction
  • Bessel van der Kolk – Traumatic stress
  • Peter Levine – Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
  • Richard Miller – Yoga Nidra
  • Pat Ogden – Trauma and the Body
  • Swami Satyananda – Yoga Nidra


  • 1975: The Relaxation Response published by Herbert Benson, M.D., Faculty, Harvard Medical School
  •  ‘Application of Yoga in Residential Treatment of Traumatized Youth’ – Joseph Spinazzola, Alison M. Rhodes, David Emerson, Ellen Earle, and Kathryn Monroe
    from: Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, November/December 2011; vol. 17, 6: pp. 431-444., first published on August 25, 2011


Rwandan Dictionary (Kinyarwanda-English)

“Imana yirirwa ahandi igataha mu Rwanda.”
“God spends the day elsewhere, but sleeps in Rwanda.”

Thanks for the help of an American woman we have a great list or words and phrases here. For anyone who will come over and volunteer as well or the ones traveling in Rwanda.
Everything is in Kinyarwanda unless otherwise noted.

General Greetings, Etc.

Good morning: MwahRahMootZAY (Mwaramutse)
Good afternoon: MweeReeWay (Mwiriwe)
Hello (if haven’t seen in a while): MooRahHoh (Muraho)
Hello (pidgin Swahili): JahmBoh (Jambo)
Sir: BgahNah (Bwana)
Madam: MahDahm (Madame)
How are you?: AhMahKooRoo (Amakuru)
How are you? (reciprocated): AhMahKooRoo Yah Way (Amakuru yawe)
How are you doing?: OoMAYzay GOOtay? (Umeze gute)
What’s up?: BEEtess? (Bitese?)
What’s up? (Very familiar, with close friends): BEEtess shah? (Bite se sha?)
I’m fine: Nee MAYza (Ni meza)
I’m not good: MayZay NahBee (Meze nabi)
I’m fine: MAYzay NAYzah (Meze neza)
Thank you: MooRahKohZay (Murakoze)
Thank you very much(Swahili): AhSANtee SAHna (Ahsante Sana)
You, too: NahWay (Nawe)
Goodbye (afternoon): MeeReeGway (Mwirirwe)
Goodbye (evening): MooRahMooKeyAy (Muramuke)
Goodbye (if not going to see for a while): MooRahBAYho (Murabeho)
See you tomorrow: Nah HAYJoh (Ni ahejo)
See you next time/soon: TooRohnGayRah (Turongera)
Yes: YAYgo (Yego)
No: Oya (Oya)
Not at all!: AHSHWeeDAH (Ashwida)
Okay: SahWah (Sawa) (Swahili)
What’s your name?: WitWAHNday? (Witwa nde)
My name is _____.: NEETwah _____. (Nitwa)
Nice to meet you (one person): NdahBeeSheemYay (Ndabishimiye)
Nice to meet you (plural, polite form): NeeSheemYay KooBah MenYah (Nishimiye kuba menya)
Good: MAYza (Meza)
Bad: BeeBee (Bibi)
Welcome: MooRahKahZah NayZa (Murakaza neza)
Welcome (Swahili): KahReeBoo (Karibu)
Feel at home: MooReeSahnGah (Murisanga)
Excuse me (also means “have compassion”): ImBahBahZee (Imbabazi)
Have a good day: OoMoonSee MweeZah (Umunsi Mwiza)
Have a good evening: OoMooGohRohBah MWEEZah (Umugoroba mwiza)
Have a good night: EeJoro GweeZah (Ijoro Rwiza)
Have a good trip: OoRooGenDoh GweeZah (Urugendo Rwiza)
Excuse me (e.g. if trying to get through a crowd) : NDahSahBah EenZeeRah (Ndasaba inzira)

Daily Conversation

What is your profession?: OoKohrEekEe? (Ukora iki?)
How is your family?: AhMahKooRoo YohMooRooGoh? (Amakuru yo murugo?)
Do you have time? Are you free?: OoFeetOomWahNyah? (Ufite umwanya)
I don’t have time: Nhah MwahNeeAh MFeeTay (Nta mwanya mfite)
No problem: NAHkeyBAzoh (Ntakibazo)
No problem (Swahili): Hakuna Matata (or) Hamna Shida
I work for ________. : NhoRerAh ________ (Nkorera _____. )
I am an employee of ___.: NDooMooKohZee Wah ___. (Ndi umukozi wa ___.)
We work for _________. : DooKohRerAh _______ (Dukorera _____.)
I speak a little Kinyarwanda: KeenYahGwanda CheeAnJeeay NeeGeeKeeay (Kinyarwanda cyanje n’igikye)
I’m trying: NdaGayraGayZah (Ndagerageza)
I don’t understand that: SeemByoomVah (Simbyumva)
I don’t know: SeemBeeZee (Simbizi)
I know: NDahBeeZee (Ndabizi)
Repeat: SooBeeRahMoh (Subiramo)
Sorry (also, “Pity”): BahBahReeRah (Babarira)
Sorry (expression of sympathy): WeeHahnGahnAy (Wihangane)
Me, too: NahJeeYay (Najye)
You, too: NahWay (Nawe)
Are you married?: OoRooBahtSay? (Urubatse?)
Are you single?: OoReenGahRahGoo? (Uri ingaragu?)
I am married: NDooBAhtSay (Ndubatse)
I am single: NDeenGahRahGoo (Ndi ingaragu)
Do you have children?: OoFeeTahBahNah? (Ufite abana?)
I don’t have: SeemFeeTay (Simfite)


Drinks: EeBeenYobGah (Ibinyobwa)
Milk (general): AhMahTah (Amata)
Drinking milk: EenChiuChiu (inshyushyu)
Yogurt milk, like an Indian lassi: EeKeyVooGooToe (Ikivuguto)
Powdered milk: AhMahTah YeeFoo (Amata Y’ifu)
Water: AhMahZee (Amazi)
Cold water: AhMahZee AhConeJay (Amazi akonje)
Beer: EeBeeYehRee (Ibyeri)
Local brew: EeRahGwa or EeGwaGwa (Iragwa)
Tea: EeKEYAhYee (Icyayi)
Coffee: EeKAHwah (Ikawa)
Fruit juice: OoMooToeBay WeemBooToe (Umutobe w’imbuto)
Coke: CoCah (Coca)


Food: EeBEERyoh (Ibiryo)
Fruit: EemBooToh (Imbuto)
Vegetables: EemBOHgah (Imboga)

Avocadoes: AhVohKah (Avoka)
Bananas: EemeeNAYkay (Imineke)
Banana mash: MahToeKay (Matoke)
Beans: EeBeeHEEMboh (Ibihyimbo)
Bread: OomooKAHtee (Umukati)
Butter: AhMahVooTah (Amavuta) (Though you might get margarine instead)
Cabbage: EeShoo (Ishu)
Carrots: AhMahKahRowTee (Amakaroti)
Cassava (Manioc): EemYoomBahTee (Inyumbati)
Chicken: EenKohKoh (Inkoko)
Corn: EeKeyGorEe (Ikigori)
Corn cake: Kayk (Keke)
Corn or Cassava starchy accompaniment to many meals: OoGahLee (Ugali)
Donuts: AHmahndAHzi (Amandazi)
Eggs: Ahmahgee (Amagi)
Fish: EeFee (Ifi)
Little fish (lake smelts, often fried): EeSahmBahZah (Isambaza)
Goat: EeHenAy (Ihene)
Hot Chili: PeeLee PeeLee (Pili pili) (Swahili)
Hot Chili: OoRooSenDah (Urusenda)
Meat: EenYahMah (Inyama)
Onions: OoBooToonGooRoo (Ubuntunguru)
Passionfruit: MaraKOOja (Marakuja)
Peas: AhMahShahZah (Amashaza)
Pineapple: EeNahNahSee (Inanasi)
Plantains: IGeeToeGee (Igitoke)
Potatoes: EeBeeRAIYee (Ibirayi)
Sweet potatoes: EeBeeJoomBah (Ibijumba)
Pumpkin: EeGeeHahZah (Igihaza)
Rice: OoMooCHELLee (Umuceli)
Salt: OoMoonYoo (Umunyu)
Sheep: EenTahMah (Intama)
Sorghum: AhMahSahKah (Amasaka)
Soup: EeSooPoo (Isupu)
Sugar: EeSooKAHree (Isukari)
Tomatoes: EenYAHNyah (Inyanya)
Tree tomatoes (also called “prunes de Japon”): EeKeenYohMorOh (Ikinyomoro)

Other Food/Drink-Related Terms

What are you looking for?: OoRahShahKeeKee? (Ura shakiki?)
I am looking for/I want: NDahShahKah (Nda shaka)
Do you have: OoFeeTay (Ufite)
I don’t have: SeemFeeTay (Simfite)
Here is sold _____.: HAHno Hahree _____: (Hano Hari)
We sell _____: DooKooRooZah (Ducuruza)
Plastic bottle (such as one that holds water) : AhgahCHOOPa (Agacupa)
I don’t have a plastic bottle: AhGahCHOOPa PfEEtay (Agacupa Pfite)
There’s still water in this bottle: HahRee MooAhMahZee (Hari Mu Amazi)
The last glass (such as “one for the road”): AhGahShinGooRahChooMoo (Agashyinguracumu)
When is the food going to be ready? (Very important here!): BeeGayZay Hay? (Bigeze he?)
It’s going to take a while: BeeRahTeenDah (Biratinda)
I’m hungry: NDah ShownJay (Nda Shonge)
I’m thirsty: MFeeTay EenYowTah (Mfite Inyota)
Have you eaten? (singular): WahReeAy? (Wariye?)
Have you eaten? (plural): MwahReeAy? (Mwariye?)
Are you hungry?: OoRah ShownJay? (Ura shonge?)
I’m not hungry: NHahbGoh ShownJay (Ntabwo shonge)
Quench your thirst: SheeReenYohTah (Shirinyota)
I’m full: Ndah Hahzee (Nda Haze)
Bon Appetit: MoorYeohHairGway (Muryohe Rwe)
Cheers (when toasting a drink) : DooSahnGeeRay CarGeeOhHay (Dusangire Karyohe)
The food is good: EeBeeBeerGyo Nee ByeeZah (Ibibiryo ni byiza)
A little, Slowly: BooHorOh (Buhoro)
A lot, much, many: ByeenShay (Byinshe)
Cold: BeeCONEjay (Bikonje)
Room temperature/Tepid: EensheeooShay (Inshyushye)
Hot: EensheeooShay Cheeanee (Inshyushye cyane)


Money: AhMaFahRanGah (Amafaranga)
I don’t have money: NHaMaFahRanGah (Nta amafaranga)
There is no money: NHahMaFahRanGah FeeTay (Nta amafaranga mfite)
How much does this cost? :NahnGahHay? (Nangahe)
Where is the bank: EeBONGki Ni Hay Hay? (Ibanki ni he he?)
Where is the currency exchange?: Forex Ni Hay Hay? (Forex ni he he?)
Lower the price! (Good for bargaining): GahBahnYah! (Gabanya!)
That’s too much money: Nee MenShee (Ni menshi)
That’s too expensive (referring to a thing): BeeRahHenDah (Birahenda)
That’s too expensive (referring to a service, like a moto taxi): OoRahHenDah (Urahenda)


White person: OoMooZoonGoo (Umuzungu)
White people: AhBahZoonGoo (Abazungu)
Small white person: KAHzoongoo (can be derogatory, when used between Rwandans) (Kazungu) Black person (opposite of muzungu): OomWeerAhBooRah (Umwirabura)
Man: OoMooGahBoh (Umugabo)
Woman: OoMooGohRay (Umugore)
Girl: OoMooKohbGah (Umukoobwa)
Boy: OoMooHoonGoo (Umuhuungu)
Adolescent boy: OoMooSohRay (Umsore)
Adolescent girl: EenHooMee (Inkumi)
Baby, Toddler: OomWahNah (Umwana)
Friends/Lovers: MooKoonZee (Mukunzi)
Friend: EenShooTee (Inshuti)
My friend: EenShooTee WahnJeeYay (Inshuti wanjye)
Children: AhBahNah (Abana)
Men: AhBahGahBoh (Abagabo)
Women: AhBahGohRay (Abagore)
Boys: AhBahHoonGoo(Abahungu)
Girls: AhBahKohbGah (Abakobgwa)
Person: OoMoonToo (Umuntu)
People: AhBahnToo (Abantu)

Common Phrases and Expressions

After: NyooMah (Nyuma)
After the: NyooMah Yah (Nyuma ya)
Also: KahnDee (Kandi)
Always: EeTayKah (Iteka)
And: Nah (Na)
Because: KooKoh (Kuko)
Bless You (after a sneeze): KeeRah (Kira) or, more formally, MooRahKeeRay (Murakire)
Both: YohmBee (Yombi)
But: AhREECoh (Ariko)
Do you need to go to the bathroom? (singular): OoRah ShahKah Kwee TooMah? (Ura shaka kwi tuma?)
Do you need to go to the bathroom? (plural): MooRah ShahKah Kwee TooMah? (Mura shaka kwi tuma?)
Go ahead: KohMayZah (Komeza)
How?: BeeTay (Bite)
I don’t like: SeenHoonDah (Sinkunda)
I don’t want: SeenShahKah (Sinshaka)
I like: nHoonDah (Nkunda)
I love you: NDah GooKoonDah (Nda gukunda)
I never want: DTABgoneSHAHkah (Ntabwonshaka)
Is: Nee (Ni)
Isn’t that so? (If you say it): See Byoh? (Si byo?)
Isn’t that so? (In response to something someone else has said): Nee Byoh? (Ni byo?)
It’s good: Nee Byeeza (Ni byiza)
I want: NDah SHAHkah (Ndashaka)
Listen: OomVah! (Umva!)
Never: NhabGwo (Ntabwo)
No one: NhaWay (Ntawe)
Or: ChahnGwa (Cyangwa)
That’s right/Isn’t that right?: Nee Beeyo (Ni byo)
This: OoYoo (Uyu)
That: OoWoh (Uwo)
That (over there): OoReeYah (Uriya)
Truly: KahBeeSah (Kabisa)
You know: OoRahKeeZee (Urakizi)
Very: CHAHNay (Cyane)
What?: EeKey (Iki)
What are you doing?: OoRahKohReeKee? (Urakora iki?)
What are you saying?: OoTeeKee? (Uti iki?)
What is this?: EeKeeNeeKee? (Iki n’iki?)
What is this?: NeeGeeKee? (N’igiki?)
When?: ReeAhDee? (Ryali)
Who? (singular): Nday (Nde)
Who? (plural): BahnDay (Bande)
Who are you looking for: OoRahShahKahnDay? (Urashaka nde?)
Why?: KooKee? (Kuki)
Where is the bathroom?: AhHo KweetOoMah Nee Hay? (Aho kwituma ni he?)
You’re welcome (after the “Bless You”): TooAySay

Directions and Transportation

Where are you going?:OogeeayHAYhay? (Ugiye hehe?)
I am going to _____.: NGEEay ________.(Ngiye ___.)
Where are you coming from?: Oovooyay hay? (Uvuye he?)
I am coming from ____.: Nvooy____.
Where are you?: Ooreehay? (Uri he?)
Where do you live?: OoTooYayHay? (Utuye he?)
I live ____. : NhooYay ____. (Ntuye ___.)
Where is ____?: Nee Hay Haree ___? (Ni he hari__?)

To the city: MooMooJee (mumugi)
To the [x] hotel: KooRee Hotelee [name of hotel]: (Kuri hoteli [name])
To the house: MooRooGoh (murugo)

To go: GooTahHah (Gutaha)
Go!: GenDah! (genda)
Let’s go: TooGenDay (tugende)
You guys go: MooGenDay (mugende)
I want to go: NDahShahKah GooTahHah (Ndashaka gutaha)
I don’t want to go: SeenShahKah GooTahHah (Sinshaka gutaha)

Where is it?: NeeHayHay? (Ni he he?)
It’s close? : Nee HahFee? (Ni hafi?)
It’s far?: Nee KooRay? (Ni kure?)
It is near ____.: EeRooHahnDee Gwah ___. (Iruhandi rwa ___.)
Go Straight: KoMayZay EemBayRay (Komeze Imbere)
Left: EeBooMoSo (Ibumoso)
Right: EeBurgyo (Iburyo)
Backward, behind: EenYooMah (Inyuma)
Between: HahGahTeeYah (Hagatiya)
Over there: HarEeYah (Hariya)
Inside: AhReeMoh (Arimo)
Inside: MoonZoo (Munzu)
Outside: HahnZay (Hanze)
It’s here: Nee HAHnoh (Ni hano)
It’s there: Nee HahREEYah (Ni hariya)
Stop!: HahGahRahRah (Hagarara!)
Run!: EeRooKah! (Iruka!)
Wait!: BooRaytSay (Buretse!)
Don’t wait: WeeTayGayRayZah (Witegereza)

In the room: MooChoomBah (Mu cyumba)
Outside the room: HahnZay YeeChoomBah (Hanze y’icyumba)
To leave the house: GooSohHohKah (Gusohoka)

Airport: EeKeeBooGah CheenDayGay (Ikibuga cy’indege)
Bicycle: EeGahRay (Igare)
Bus: BeeSee (Bisi)
Bus (Swahili): MahTahToo (Matatu)
Car (Motorcar): EeMohDohKah (Imodoka)
Motorcycle Taxi: EePeekeePeekee (Ipikipiki)
Road: OoMooHAHNdah (Umuhanda)
Plane: EenDayGay (Indege)
Taxi: TahGeeSee (Tagisi)

I’m going to the airport: NGeeYay KooKeeBooGah CheenDayGay (Ngiye kukibuga cy’indege)
I’m going to work: NGeeYay GooKohRah (Ngiye gukora)
I’m going to Gisenyi: NGeeYay EeGeeSenYee (Ngiye igisenyi)


Family: MeerYahnGo (Miryango)
Mama: Mama
Papa: DahTah (Data)
My wife: OoMooGorAy WahnJeeYay (Umugore wanjye)
My husband: OoMooGahBow WahnJeeYay (Umugabo wanjye)
My child: OomWahNah WahnJeeYay (Umwana wanjye)
My children: AhBahNah BanJeeYay (Abana banjye)

Miscellaneous Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives

And then…: HahnYooMah (Hanyuma)
Ball: OoMooPeeRah (Umupira)
Baskets: AhGahSayKay (Agaseke)
Boss: OoMooYohBohSee (Umuyobozi)
Candle: BooJee (Buji)
Card: Eecartee (Ikati)
Cat: EePooSee (Ipusi)
Chauffeur/Driver: OoMooShowFayRee (Umushoferi)
Clothing (pl): EemYenDah (Imyenda)
Clothing (s): OomYenDah (Umyenda)
Community work: OOmooGahnDah (Umuganda)
Compassion/mercy: EemBahBahzi (Imbabazi)
Confidence, Trust: KweeZerAh (Kwizera)
Cooperation: OoMooBahNo (Umubano)
Cow: EenHah (Inka)
Dog: UmBwah (Mbwa)
Drums: EenGohMah (Ingoma)
Employee: OoMooKohZee (Umukozi)
Gas station: AhHo KoonyeeWeshErAyZah AySahnSs (Aho kunyweshereza essence)
God: EeMahNah (Imana)
Gorillas: EenGahGee (Ingagi)
Guest: OoMooSheeYeetSee (Umushyitsi)
Guests: AhBahSheeYeetSee (Abashyitsi)
Hug: HoBee (Hobe)
Intern/Apprentice: OoWeeMenYayRayZah OomWooGah (uwimenyereza umwuga)
Lake: EeKeeYahGah (Ikiyaga)
Lodging: AhmahCHOOmbee (Amacumbi)
Matches: EeKeeBreeTee (Ikibriti)
Mosquito: OoMooBoo (umubu)
Mosquitoes: EeMeeBoo (imibu)
Mountain: OoMooSohZee (Umusozi)
Office: EeBeeRo (Ibiro)
Organization (like a humanitarian organization): OoMoorYahnGoh (Umuryango)
Peace: AhMahHorOh (Amahoro)
Prison: GayRayZah (Gereza)
Rain: EemVOODah (Imvura)
Rainy season: EegEEHay CheemVOODah (Igihe cy’imvura)
Sign: EeCheeYahPah (Icyapa)
Subsidized housing: OOmooDOOgoodoo (Umudugudu)
Tee-shirt: OoMooPeeRah (Umupira)
Telephone: TooVooGahNee (Tuvugane) (Literally, “Let’s Talk”)
Thief: OoMooJooRah (Umujura)
Thief (Swahili): MweeZee (Mwizi)
To Answer: GooSooBeeZah (Gusubiza)
To Delay: GooTeenDah (Gutinda)
To Give: GooTahnGah (Gutanga)
To Get Up: KooByeeooKah (Kubyuka)
Toilet Paper: EemPahPooRoh Zoh Moo MooSahRahNay (Impapuro zo mu musarane)
To Visit: GooSooRah (Gusura)
Tree: OoBahHoh (Ubaho)
Trees: EemBahHoh (Imbaho)
Unity: OOBOOMway(Ubumwe)
Village: AhKahDooGooDoo (Akadugudu)
Volcanoes: EeBeeRoonGah (Ibirunga)
Volunteer: OoMooKohRayrRahBooShahKay (umukorerabushake)
Work: AhKAHzi (Akazi)

Miscellaneous Phrases

Are you happy?: OoReeSheemYay? (Urishimiye?)
Are you unhappy? NHahbGoh OoReeSheemYay? (Ntabwo urishimiye?)
God Bless You: EeMahNah AhGooHay OoMooGeeSha (Imana aguhe umugisha)
Happy Birthday: EeSahBooKooRoo NZeeZah YahMahVooKoh (Isabukuru nziza y’amavuko) Happy Wedding Anniversary: EeSahBooKooRoo Yoh GooSheenGeerGwa (Isabukuru yo gushyingirwa)
Happy Wedding Day: OoMoonSee MweeZah Yoh GooSheenGeerGwa (Umunsi mwiza yo gushyingirwa)
How much time will you spend in Rwanda?: OoZahMahRah EeKeeHeeGeeHay MoorGwanDah? (Uzamara ikihe igihe murwanda?)
How was your weekend?: WeeKENDee YahGENZay NAYzah? (Wikendi yagenze neza?)
I am an American (woman): NDOOmnyaMayreekah KahZEE (Ndu mnyamerikakazi)
I am an American (man): NDOOmnyaMayreekah (Ndu mnyamerika)
I am happy: NdeeSheemYay (Ndishimiye)
I am tired: EndAHNahnEEway (Ndananiwe)
I am unhappy: NHahbGoh NeeSheemYay (Ntabwo nishimiye)
I live in America: NHOOYay MooRee AhMayReeKAH (Ntuye muri Amerika)
I love Rwanda: NdahKoonDah OorGwahnDah (Ndakunda urwanda)
I love Rwanda: NhoonDah OorGwanDah (Nkunda urwanda)
I spent the night: NahRahYay (Naraye)
It is cold? EeRah CohnJay? (Ira conge?)
It is hot? EeRah ShooShay? (Ira shyushye?)
It is pretty: Nee HayZah (Ni Heza)
I will spend the night: NZahRahRah (Nzarara)
My name is not “Muzungu”: NHahbGoh NeetGwah MooZoonGoo (Ntabwo nitwa “Muzungu”) Rest well: OoRooHooKay NayZah (Urukuke neza)
Thank God: EeMahNeeSheemWay (Imana ishyimwe)
There is no power in the area: OoMooReeRoh WahGeeAy (Umuriro wagiye)
This is difficult: BeeRahKohMayYee (Birakomeye)
This is easy: BeeRohRohSheeYay (Biroroshye)
What’s next?: EeKeenDee? (Ikindi?)
You are crazy (this should be reserved for good friends only, otherwise, an insult!): OoMooSahZee (Umu saze)
You are crazy (Swahili): WayWay Cheesy
You are cute/pretty: OoRee MweeZah (Uri mwiza)


Answer/Test Result: EeGeeSooBeeZoh (Igisubizo)
Bandage: EeGeepFooKoh (Igipfuko)
Be strong/Get better: KohMehRah! (Komera!)
Blood: AhMahRahSoh (Amaraso)
Doctor: MooGahnGah (Muganga)
Ear: OoGootWee (Ugutwi)
Ears: AhMahtWee (Amatwi)
Health Center: EeVooREERoh (Ivuriro)
Hospital: EeBeeTAHRoh (Ibitaro)
Hospital: EeVooReeRo (Ivuriro)
I feel sick: NdoomVah NdWahYay (Ndumva ndwaye)
I have a cold: NDwahYay EeBeeChooRahNay (Ndwaye ibicurane)
I have a backache: NDwahYay OoMooGonGoh (Ndwaye umugongo)
I have a headache: NDwahYay OoMootWay (Ndwaye umutwe)
I have amoebas: NDwahYay EenZohKah (Ndwaye inzoka)
I have a stomachache: NDwahYay MoonDah (Ndwaye munda)
I have a toothache: NDwahYay EeRyeenYoh (Ndwaye iryinyo)
I have malaria: NDwahYay MahLahReeYah (Ndwaye malariya)
I must take (as in medicine): NGohmBah GooFahTah (Ngomba gufata)
I want to go to the doctor: NDahShahKah KooJeeYah Kwah MooGahnGah (Nda shaka kujya kwa muganga)
Medicine: OoMooTee (Umuti)
Medicines: EeMeeTee (Imiti)
Nose: EeZooRoo (Izuru)
Pharmacy: FarMahSee (Farmasi)
Symptom: EeKeeMenYetSoh (Ikimenyetso)
Symptoms: EeBeeMenYetSoh (Ibimenyetso)
Tablet: EeKeeNeeNee (Ikinini)
Tablets: EeBeeNeeNee (Ibinini)
To Be Sick: KoorWahRah (Kurwara)
To Feel Dizzy: KooZoonGayRah (Kuzungera)
To Recover: GooKeeRah (Gukira)
To Suffer: KooBahBahRah (Kubabara)
To Take (medicine, an object): GooFahTah (Gufata)
What are you suffering from?: OorWahYay EeKee? (Urwaye iki?)
Where are you hurting?: OorahBahBahRah He? (Urababara he?)
You must take (as in medicine): OoGohmBah GooFahTah (Ugomba gufata)

Languages, Continents, Nationalities

What languages do you speak?: OoVooGeeZeeHay EnDeeMee? (Uvuga izihe ndimi?)
What language do you speak?: OoVooGooRooHay RooReeMee? (Uvuga uruhe rurimi?)

I speak: NVooGah (Nvuga)
You speak: OoVooGah (Uvuga)
S/He speaks: AhVooGah (Avuga)
We speak: TooVooGah (Tuvuga)
You guys speak: MooVooGah (Muvuga)
They speak: BahVooGah (Bavuga)

French: EeGeeFahRanSah (Igifaransa)
English: EeChonGayRayZah (Icyongereza)
Swahili: EeGeeSwaYeeLee (Igiswayili)
Chinese: EeGeeSheenWah (Igishinwa)
Spanish: EeCheeEsPahnYohlAy (Icyespanyole)
German: EeKeeDahGay (Ikidage)
Dutch: EeKeeHohLahnDee (Ikiholande)
Lingala: EeLeenGahLah (Ilingala)
Japanese: EeKeeYahPahnEe (Ikiyapani)
Arabic: EeCheeAhRahBoo (Icyarabu)

Foreigner: OoMoonYahMahHanGah (Umunyamahanga)
Foreign: AhMahHahnGah (Amahanga)

America: AhMayReeKah (Amerika)
Europe: OoBooRahEe (Uburayi)
Africa: AhFooReeKah (Afurika)
Asia: AhZeeYah (Aziya)
Australia: OhStrahLeeYah (Ostraliya)

American: OoMoonYahMayReeKah (Umunyamerika)
Arab: OomWahRahBoo (Umwarabu)
Belgian: OoMooBeeReeGee (Umubirigi)
Burundian: OoMooRoonDee (Umurundi)
Canadian: OoMoonYahKahNahDah (Umunyakanada)
Chinese: OoMooSHEENWah (Umushinwa)
Congolese: OoMoonYayKohnGoh (Umunyekongo)
Dutch: OoMooHohLahnDee (Umuholandi)
English: OomWohnGayRayZah (Umwongereza)
French: OoMooFahRahSah (Umufaransa)
German: OoMooDahGay (Umudage)
Indian: OoMooHeenDee (Umuhindi)
Italian: OoMooTahLeeAhNee (Umutalyiani)
Kenyan: OoMoonYahKenYah (Umunyakenya)
Tanzanian: OoMoonYahTahnZahNeeYah (Umunyatanzaniya)
Ugandan: OoMooGahnDay (Umugande)

To make any of these feminine, add “-kazi” to the end. For example:
I am an American (girl): NDooMoonYahMayReeKahKahZee. (Ndi umunyamerika kazi.)


0 ZayRoo (Zeru)
1 ReemWay (Rimwe)
2 KahBeeRee (Kabiri)
3 GahTahToo (Gatatu)
4 KahNay (Kane)
5 Gahtahno (Gatanu)
6 GahTahnDahToo (Gatandatu)
7 KahReenDwee (Karindwi)
8 OoMooNahNay (Umunane)
9 EeCheeEnDah (Icyenda)
10 EeChooMee (Icumi)
11- ChooMee Nah ReemWay (cumi na rimwe)
12- ChooMee Nah KahBeeRee (cumi na kabiri)
13- ChooMee Nah GahTahToo (cumi na gatatu)
14- ChooMee Nah KahNay (cumi na kane)
15- ChooMee Nah GahTahNoo (cumi na gatanu)
16- ChooMee Nah GahTahnDahToo (cumi na gatandatu)
17- ChooMee Nah KahLeenDwee (cumi na kalindwi)
18- ChooMee NooMooNahNay (cumi n’umunane)
19- ChooMee NeeChenDah (cumi n’icyenda)
20- MahKoomYahBeeRee (makumyabiri)
21- MahKoomYahBeeRee Nah ReemWay (makumyabiri na rimwe)
30- MeeRohnGoh EeTahToo (mirongo itatu)
31- MeeRohnGoh EeTahToo Nah ReemWay (mirongo itatu na rimwe)
40- MeeRohnGoh EeNay (mirongo ine)
50- MeeRohnGoh EeTahNoo (mirongo itanu)
60- MeeRohnGoh EeTahnDahToo (mirongo itandatu)
70- MeeRohnGoh EeReendWee (mirongo irindwi)
80- MeeRohnGoh EeNahNee (mirongo inani)
90- MeeRohnGoh EeChenDah (mirongo icyenda)
100 EeJahNah (Ijana)
200 MahGahNahBeeLee (Magana Abili)
300 MahGahNahTahToo (Magana Atatu)
400 MahGahNahAhNay (Magana Ane)
500 MahGahNahTahNoo (Magana Atanu)
600 MahGahNahTahnDahToo (Magana Atandatu)
700 MahGahNahLeendWee (Magana Alindwi)
800 MahGahNeeNanEe (Magana Inani)
900 MahGahNah OorGwenDah (Magana Urwenda)
1000 EeGeeHoomBee (Igihumbi)
1500 EeGeeHoomBee Nah MahGahNahTahNoo (Igihumbi na magana atanu)
2000 EeBeeHoomBee BeeBeeRee (Ibihumbi Bibiri)
2500 EeBeeHoomBee BeeBeeRee Nah MahGahNahTahNoo (Ibihumbi bibiri na magana atanu)
5000 EeBeeHoomBee BeeTahNoo (Ibihumbi Bitanu)


Now: NoNay (None)
Today: OoYooMoonSee (Uyu munsi)
Tomorrow: AyJoh HahZahZah (Ejo hazaza)
Yesterday: AyJoh HahSheeZay (Ejo hashize)
Soon: VooBah (Vuba)
Now: OoBoo (Ubu)
The past: CheeAhSheeZay (Cyashize)

Morning: EeGeeToneDoh (Igitondo)
Afternoon: NeeMoonSee (Ni munsi)
Evening: OoMooGohRohBa (Umugoroba)
Night: EeJohRoh (Ijoro)
Weekend: EeWeeKenDee (Iwikendi)
In the morning: Moo GeeToneDoh (Mu gitondo)

Last week: EeChoomWayroo GeeSheeZay (Icyumweru gishize)
This week: EeKee ChoomWayroo (Iki cyumweru)
Next week: EeChoomWayroo GeeTahHah (Icyumweru gitaha)
Last year: OomWahKah OoSheeZay (Umwaka ushize)
This year: OoYoo MwahKah (Uyu mwaka)
Next year: OomWahKah NhaHah (Umwaka ntaha)

On Monday: KooWah MbayRay (Ku wa mbere)
On Tuesday: KooWah KahBeeLee (Ku wa kabili)
On Wednesday: KooWah GahTahToo (Ku wa gatatu)
On Thursday: KooWah KahNay (Ku wa kane)
On Friday: KooWah GahTahNoo (Ku wa gatanu)
On Saturday: KooWah GahTahnDahToo (Ku wa gatandatu)
On Sunday: KooWah ChoomWayRoo (Ku wa cyumweru)

January: MooTahRahMah (Mutarama)
February: GahShyanTahRay (Gashyantare)
March: WerOorGway (Werurwe)
April: MahTah (Mata)
May: GeeChooRahZee (Gicurazi)
June: KahMayNah (Kamena)
July: NeeYahKahnGah (Nyakanga)
August: KahNahMah (Kanama)
September: NzayLee (Nzeli)
October: OoKwahKeeRah (Ukwakira)
November: OoGooSheenGoh (Ugushyingo)
December: OoKooBohZah (Ukuboza)

One week: EeChoomWayRoo (Icumweru)
Two weeks: EeBeeOomWayRoo BeeBeeRee (Ibyumweru bibiri)
One month: OokWayZee (Ukwezi)
Two months: AhMayZee AhBeeRee (Amezi abiri)
Three months: AhMayZee AhTahToo (Amezi atatu)
Four months: AhMayZee AhNay (Amezi ane)
Five months: AhMayZee AhTahNoo (Amezi atanu)
Six months: AhMayZee AhTahnDahToo (Amezi atandatu)


Black: OoMooKahRah (Umukara)
Brown: EeBeeHohGoh (Ibihogo)
Green: EeCheeYahtSee (Icyatse)
Light tan: EenZohBay (Inzobe)
Red: OoMooTooKoo (Umutuku)
White: EeGeeTahRay (Igitare)
White: OomWayRoo (Umweru)

Conjugated Verbs

To Be- Kuba (pronounced “KooBah”)

I am- NDee (Ndi)
You are-OoRee (Uri)
S/he is- AhRee (Ari)
We are- TooRee (Turi)
You guys are- MooRee (Muri)
They are- BahRee (Bari)

…and because I think it’s important to know how to say “I am not,” here are two ways to say the negative form of this:

I am not- SeenDee (Sindi)
You are not- NHeenDee (Ntindi)
S/he is not- NHahRee (Ntari)
We are not- NHeeTooRee (Ntituri)
You guys are not- NHeeMooRee (Ntimuri)
They are not- NHeeBahRee (Ntibari)

I am not- NHAHbGoh NDee (Ntabwo ndi)
You are not- NHAHbGoh OoRee (Ntabwo uri)
S/he is not- NHAHbGoh AhRee (Ntabwo ari)
We are not- NHAHbGoh TooRee (Ntabwo turi)
You guys are not- NHAHbGoh MooRee (Ntabwo muri)
They are not- NHAHbGoh BahRee (Ntabwo bari)

To Be Late- Gukerererwa (pronounced “GooKayRayRayrGwah”)

I am late- NDahKayRayRayrGwah (Ndakerererwa)
You are late- OoRahKayRayRayrGwah (Urakerererwa)
S/he is late- AhRahKayRayRayrGwah (Arakerererwa)
We are late- TooRahKayRayRayrGwah (Turakerererwa)
You guys are late- MooRahKayRayRayrGwah (Murakerererwa)
They are late- BahRahKayRayRayrGwah (Barakerererwa)

To Be Sick- Kurwara (pronounced “KoorWahRah”)

I am sick- NarWahYay (Narwaye)
You are sick- WarWahYay (Warwaye)
S/he is sick- YarWahYay (Yarwaye)
We are sick- TWarWahYay (Twarwaye)
You guys are sick- MWarWahYay (Mwarwaye)
They are sick- BarWahYay (Barwaye)

To Build- Kubaka (pronounced “KooBahKah”)

I build- NDooBahKah (Ndubaka)
You build- OoRooBahKah (Urubaka)
S/he builds- AhRooBahKah (Arubaka)
We build- TooRooBahKah (Turubaka)
You build- MooRooBahKah (Murubaka)
They build- BahRooBahKah (Barubaka)

To Come- Kuza (pronounced “KooZah”)

I am coming- NDahJeeYay (Ndajye)
You are coming- OoRahJeeYay (Urajye)
S/he is coming- AhRahJeeYay (Arajye)
We are coming- TooRahJeeYay (Turajye)
You guys are coming- MooRahJeeYay (Murajye)
They are coming- BahRahJeeYay (Barajye)

To Eat- Kurya (pronounced “KoorGeeYah”)

I am eating- NDarGeeYah (Ndarya)
You are eating- OoRahrGeeYah (Urarya)
S/he is eating- AhRahrGeeYah (Ararya)
We are eating- TooRarhGeeYah (Turarya)
You guys are eating- MooRahrGeeYah (Murarya)
They are eating- BahRahrGeeYah (Bararya)

To feel (taste, smell, hear, touch)- Kumva (pronounced “KoomVah”)

I feel- NDoomVah (Ndumva)
You feel- OoRoomVah (Urumva)
S/he feels- AhRoomVah (Arumva)
We feel- TooRoomVah (Turumva)
You guys feel- MooRoomVah (Murumva)
They feel- BahRoomVah (Barumva)

Example: I feel sick. NDoomVah NDWAHyay. (Ndumva ndwaye.)

To Go Somewhere (not to be confused with the general “to go”)- Kugira (pronounced “KooGeeRah”)

I am going- NGeeAy (Ngiye)
You are going- OoGeeAy (Ugiye)
S/he is going- AhGeeAy (Agiye)
We are going- TooGeeAy (Tugiye)
You guys are going- MooGeeAy (Mugiye)
They are going- BahGeeAy (Bagiye)

For this verb, you need to say where you are going. Examples:

I am going to Kigali: NGeeAy KooKeeGahLee. (Ngiye ku Kigali.)
We are going to work: TooGeeAy KooKahZee. (Tugiye ku kazi.)

To Go/Leave (generally—don’t say where you are going)- Kugenda (pronounced “KooGenDah”)

I am going- NDahGenDah (Ndagenda)
You are going- OoRahGenDah (Uragenda)
S/he is going- AhRahGenDah (Aragenda)
We are going- TooRahGenDah (Turagenda)
You guys are going- MooRahGenDah (Muragenda)
They are going- BahRahGenDah (Baragenda)

If you want to say, “Let’s go!” you can say, “TooGenDay!” (Tugende!) For grammar nerds, it’s just a command form of this verb.

To Have- Kugira (pronounced “KooGeeRah”)

I have- MFeeTay (Mfite)
You have- OoFeeTay (Ufite)
S/he has- AhFeeTay (Afite)
We have- TooFeeTay (Tufite)
You guys have- MooFeeTay (Mufite)
They have- BahFeeTay (Bafite)

To Know- Kumenya (pronounced “KooMenYah”)

I know- NZee (Nzi)
You know- OoZee (Uzi)
S/he knows- AhZee (Azi)
We know- TooZee (Tuzi)
You guys know- MooZee (Muzi)
They know- BahZee (Bazi)

To Live, To Stay- Gutura (pronounced “GooTooRah”)

I live- NHooYay (Ntuye)
You live- OoTooYay (Utuye)
S/he lives- AhTooYay (Atuye)
We live- DooTooYay (Dutuye)
You guys live- MooTooYay (Mutuye)
They live- BahTooYay (Batuye)

Where do you live? OoTooYay Hay? (Utuye he?)
I live in Kiyovu. NHooYay Moo KeeYohVoo. (Ntuye mu Kiyovu.)

To recover (from an illness)- Gukira (pronounced “GooKeeRah”)

I am recovered- NahKeeZay (Nakize)
You are recovered- WahKeeZay (Wakize)
S/he is recovered- YahKeeZay (Yakize)
We are recovered- TWahKeeZay (Twakize)
You guys are recovered- MWahKeeZay (Mwakize)
They are recovered- BahKeeZay (Bakize)

To See- Kubona (pronounced “KooBohNah”)

I see- NDahBohNah (Ndabona)
You see- OoRahBohNah (Urabona)
S/he sees- AhRahBohNah (Arabona)
We see- TooRahBohNah (Turabona)
You guys see- MooRahBohNah (Murabona)
They see- BahRahBohNah (Barabona)

To Think- Gutekereza (pronounced “GooTayKayRayZah”)

I think- NDahTayKayRayZah (Ndatekereza)
You think- OoRahTayKayRayZah (Uratekereza)
S/he thinks- AhRahTayKayRayZah (Aratekereza)
We think- TooRahTayKayRayZah (Turatekereza)
You guys think- MooRahTayKayRayZah (Muratekereza)
They think- BahTayKayRayZah (Batekereza)

To say “I think that,” you can say: NDahTayKayRayZah Koh ______. (Ndatekereza ko ___)

To Visit- Gusura (pronounced “GooSooRah”)

I am visiting- NDahSooRah (Ndasura)
You are visiting- OoRahSooRah (Urasura)
S/he is visiting- AhRahSooRah (Arasura)
We are visiting- TooRahSooRah (Turasura)
You guys are visiting- MooRahSooRah (Murasura)
They are visiting- BahRahSooRah (Barasura)

To Want- Gushaka (pronounced “GooShahKah”)

I want- NDahShahKah (Ndashaka)
You want- OoRahShahKah (Urashaka)
S/he wants- AhRahShahKah (Arashaka)
We want- TooRahShahKah (Turashaka)
You guys want- MooRahShahKah (Murashaka)
They want- BahRahShahKah (Barashaka)

A few words on pronunciation:

Some Rwandans pronounce “k” as “ch.” Many pronounce “l” like “r” and vice versa, which means that some Rwandans pronounce “Kigali” as “Chigari.” Similarly, some pronounce “g” as hard and others pronounce it softer, so “Ruhengeri” can sound like “Ruhenjeli.”

If you are a stickler for pronunciation, try to imitate the way they pronounce their “l,” which, if said correctly, should also sound vaguely like an “r” or a “d.” After much practice, I’ve discovered that all it takes is a simple tap of the tongue on the hard palate behind your top teeth. It sounds harder than it is….in fact, Kinyarwanda is very easy to pronounce once you get the hang of it!

My one disclaimer is that this list could never hope to be fully comprehensive. This list can be used elsewhere so long as it is made available for free and is properly attributed!

Anneke – linguistic- Sips