Chanting has always been the foundation of my yoga practice. It is what awakened me to the spiritual side of the yoga, and it is what has led me to the most profound moments in meditation. Without it, my sadhana would feel dry and uninspired.
As an avid chanter, it’s always been important to me to pronounce the Sanskrit words correctly, even when it evokes eyerolls from my husband. (He can’t stand how I say such words as chakra.) It only seemed natural for me to formally begin my studies of the Sanskrit language.
Several months ago I began a Sanskrit apprenticeship: learning to read and write Sanskrit, with the eventual goal to teach Sanskrit and translate texts on my own. While I sometimes find it incredibly challenging, it’s been an amazing process and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.
Sometimes my lessons are dry and technical – like learning all the possible noun endings or how to conjugate verbs; sometimes it’s sweet and intimate – like when my teacher and I chant together from the Bhagavad Gita or the Saundarya Lahari. No matter what the lesson plan is, it lights me up in a way that I can’t quite explain. Perhaps it’s the way my mouth moves in all the different and new mouth positions; maybe it’s my tongue tapping the roof of my mouth in such a precise way to hit particular pressure points and stimulate my brain…but I can feel my consciousness expanding and my heart opening. What I’m learning inspires me to modify my sadhana to include even more chanting. It excites me to think of ways in which I can share this beautiful language with our local yoga community. It thrills me to know that someday I will be reading ancient Sanskrit texts on my own and actually understanding it myself. It makes me feel grateful to have met such an amazing teacher years ago, and honored for the opportunity to now study with her. I am blessed to spend this lifetime learning and sharing such amazing wisdom as this.