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, to decipher some common posture names, and to recognise some basic word forms - all in the context of an interesting, less well known, yoga text.

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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.

  • We will begin by exploring the Sanskrit alphabet and the standard transliteration of Devanāgari script into western script. We will learn the background to the Yoga Tārāvalī, chant or recite some of its verses, and learn how accurately to pronounce (transliterated) Sanskrit words.
  • Week 2 will introduce some of the yogic terminology used in the Yoga Tārāvalī; we will look at noun forms in Sanskrit and see how many we can identify in the Yoga Tārāvalī itself.
  • By week 3, we will attempt to translate verses of the Yoga Tārāvalī together; we will introduce personal pronouns, conjunctions, questioning words, and numbers.
  • In week 4, we will meet Sanskrit verb forms, see how many we can find in the Yoga Tārāvalī, and translate some more of the text.
  • The final week will be devoted to a review of the material covered in earlier weeks, and some more translation.

Throughout the course, we will chant or recite verses from the Yoga Tārāvalī together to work on our pronunciation skills, we will dip into the repertoire of yoga posture names and check our understanding of them, 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 an audio file 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 our students say

Friday afternoons have been a haven of joy for me and I miss them already! You are a patient and clever teacher. A Yogacampus student on Sanskrit for Yogis, April 2020

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