Sanskrit is the perfectly refined language of Yoga and Ayurveda, and is the mother language of India. It is thought to be divinely given; in fact, ancient seers believed that Sanskrit is a sacred language that speaks directly to the soul. Therefore, even if the mind does not understand the meaning of Sanskrit, the essence is transferred through the vibrations of the words themselves.
Those who take the time to learn Sanskrit are sure to feel its vibrational effect on the subtle body, whether through chanting mantras or Vedic texts. However, the first step is to learn how to pronounce the sounds of Sanskrit correctly, for it is only through correct pronunciation that we are able to really gain access to its teachings. This is because mispronouncing a Sanskrit word can drastically change its meaning. Luckily, Vyaas Houston at the American Sanskrit Institute (ASI) created a very effective way to learn Sanskrit.
The ASI Sanskrit Level I course is a 14-16 hour long journey through the five mouth positions that are used for properly pronouncing Sanskrit letters and words. By the end of the program, you will know the Sanskrit alphabet and will begin to be able to read Sanskrit in its original Devanagari script.
The ASI Sanskrit Level II course is also 14-16 hours long, and builds upon the knowledge gained in the first level. Expect to refine your understanding of the alphabet and vowel/consonant combinations and also cover consonant combinations with an emphasis on reading and writing the Devanagari script. You will also be introduced to the Panini Sutras which describe the ‘rules’ of Sanskrit grammar.
For those who have taken a Sanskrit Level I course through ASI and would like to expand their studies, I offer a Sanskrit class on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The focus of this class is becoming proficient at reading and writing the Devanagari script as well as understanding basic rules of grammar. My intention is to give students the skills and confidence to read and translate classic Sanskrit prayers and texts in their original form so that they can be experienced in their fullest capacity.
I also offer a Chanting & Philosophy class on the second Tuesday of each month, which is open to everyone. In this class, we engage with the Sanskrit language by chanting mantras, prayers or verses from various texts. Everything will be given in both transliteration (so that even a beginner can chant along) as well as Devanagari (for students who have studied Sanskrit and wish to practice reading). We then explore the philosophy behind what has been chanted. This gives everyone the opportunity to experience the power of sacred chant and enjoy insights into the Vedic tradition.
I also offer private Sanskrit lessons either in person or via Zoom.