This four week interactive online course is designed for those who have completed Sanskrit for Yogis – an Interactive Introduction with Graham Burns, or who have studied Sanskrit in another forum.
We will use our four sessions to explore the Sanskrit of the Īśā Upaniṣad. This is one of the shortest and most respected of the Vedic Upaniṣads, probably composed towards the end of the BCE period. It contains brief teachings about the nature of reality and about action in the world. Gandhi is reputed to have said that ‘If all the Upaniṣads and all the other scriptures happened all of a sudden to be reduced to ashes, and if only the first verse in the Īśā Upaniṣad were left in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live for ever.’ Each week, we will explore a section of the Īśā Upaniṣad, recite it, and translate some of its verses together.
For this course, you will be expected to have an understanding of the basics of Sanskrit pronunciation (using Sanskrit transliterated into western script). You will also be assumed to have some knowledge of the most common Sanskrit noun declensions, and be able to recognise third person singular and plural present tense verb forms, though these will be reviewed at the start of the course.
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 Īśā Upaniṣad 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 Īśā Upaniṣad will be provided (in Sanskrit and English), as will some grammatical and vocabulary handouts.
Over the four sessions, we will review some of the most common Sanskrit noun declensions and verb forms. We will introduce relative and demonstrative pronouns (words like ‘this’ and ‘that’), and new verb forms, such as the future tense and the imperative. We will also look at the rules for joining words together in Sanskrit (sandhi). We will discuss the historical context of the Īśā Upaniṣad and, each week, we will recite, and look to translate together, a small selection of verses from it. Each week will also include a short guided meditation.
What Will I Learn?
By the end of the course, you will have deepened your knowledge of the Sanskrit language, and will have learned more about the background to, and teachings of, the Īśā Upaniṣad.
Who is this Course for?
The course is open to anyone who has completed Sanskrit for Yogis – an Interactive Introduction with Graham Burns. If you have not taken this course, but have some experience of studying Sanskrit, please click here to e-mail Graham for further information. Please note that Sanskrit for Yogis – an Interactive Introduction will be running from 23 September. No previous knowledge of the Īśā Upaniṣad is needed.
This course will not be recorded and participation in all live sessions is essential for certification
On satisfactory completion of the course, you will receive a Yogacampus Certificate of Completion.
Hours and Accreditation
This course is accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals, and the training hours (6 in total) are eligible for Yoga Alliance continuing education (YACEP) credits.
Meet the Teacher
A former commercial lawyer, Graham began practising yoga in the mid-1990s, when his earliest regular teachers included well-known teachers Simon Low and Liz Lark. During a sabbatical in 2000 he spent three months in India (to where he has returned many times since) and also studied extensively with Erich Schiffmann and Richard Freeman in the United States, as well as taking the White Lotus yoga teacher training course in Santa Barbara, California. Graham began teaching yoga regularly in 2001, when he also returned to the United States to study for the first time with Rod Stryker, who subsequently became his main teacher. Graham’s special interests within yoga include yoga history and philosophy, the energetic aspects of yoga practice, and meditation. He is a faculty member for the Yogacampus Yoga Teacher Training Diploma programmes, co-designed and co-teaches on the Yogacampus Meditation Teacher Training Course, and is a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies of London University) where has taught Hinduism, yoga history, and comparative philosophy, and is a member of the Centre of Yoga Studies. As well as a law degree from Durham University many years ago, Graham has more recently completed both a MA in Indian religions and a PhD in ancient Indian religious philosophy at SOAS.
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