Sanskrit for Yogis: an Interactive Introduction

This unique interactive live online small group five week course will introduce you to Sanskrit - the language of yoga. It will give you the skills to pronounce Sanskrit words accurately and to recognise some basic word forms - all in the context of an interesting, less well known, yoga text.

Generic - Sanskrit on wall

Course Description

This unique interactive five week course will introduce you to Sanskrit – the language of yoga – through a weekly 90 minute live online class.

Each week, we will explore part of a mediaeval Sanskrit yoga text called the Yoga Tārāvalī (the ‘Yoga Constellation’). This text is not as widely known as texts like the Yoga Sūtra or the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā, but is composed in reasonably accessible Sanskrit and contains some interesting – and often very poetic – teachings about yoga. No previous knowledge of Sanskrit (or of the Yoga Tārāvalī) is needed, but a basic understanding of grammatical (and yoga) concepts will be helpful. If you do have some knowledge of Sanskrit already, the course will let you apply that knowledge to the teachings of the Yoga Tārāvalī.

Course Structure

We will begin by exploring the Sanskrit alphabet and the standard transliterations of Devanāgarī script into western script, and will look at some of the yoga terminology found in the text. We will chant or recite some of the verses of the Yoga Tārāvalī, and learn how accurately to pronounce (transliterated) Sanskrit words.

In week 2, we will discuss the background to the Yoga Tārāvalī and begin an exploration of noun forms in Sanskrit, seeing how many we can identify in the Yoga Tārāvalī itself.

Week 3 will deepen our exploration of Sanskrit noun forms, and we will look a bit more at the yoga teachings of the Yoga Tārāvalī. We will also begin to translate one or two verses of the text.

By week 4, we will attempt to translate more of the Yoga Tārāvalī together; we will introduce personal pronouns, conjunctions, questioning words, and numbers.

In the final week, we will meet Sanskrit verb forms, see how many we can find in the Yoga Tārāvalī, and translate some more of the text. We will also review the material covered in earlier weeks, and do some more translation. Throughout the course, we will chant or recite verses from the Yoga Tārāvalī together to work on our pronunciation skills, and will learn some new vocabulary.

Each week will also include a short guided meditation. Each class will be delivered via Zoom and will last for 90 minutes with plenty of opportunity for interaction and discussion. Between sessions, you will receive audio files of verses from the Yoga Tārāvalī to help you practise your pronunciation, and each session will begin with a short, informal revision of the previous week’s material.

Class size will deliberately be kept small to allow for maximum interaction.

A copy of the Yoga Tārāvalī will be provided (in Sanskrit and English), as will some grammatical and vocabulary handouts.

What Will I Learn?

You will learn how accurately to pronounce Sanskrit words (transliterated into western script). You will also get to know some basic Sanskrit grammatical forms and vocabulary, as well as exploring the teachings of a less well known yoga text, the the Yoga Tārāvalī.

Who is the Course for?

Open to all yoga practitioners who wish to learn about the Sanskrit language. No previous knowledge of Sanskrit is needed, but a basic understanding of grammatical (and yoga) concepts will be helpful.

Replay

This course will not be recorded and participation in all live sessions is required.

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