Sanskrit - getting started

How do I "start with sound"?

Sign up for the Sanskrit Weekend! It’s an absolutely wonderful immersion in the sounds and symbols of Sanskrit. Very deep and incredibly fun, the weekend gives you what you need to really own pronunciation for once and for all. Along the way, you’ll learn the lovely Devanagari script. If possible, follow up with Sanskrit II. At that point you’ll be more than ready to enroll in an ongoing course. You're also equipped to  use home study materials from the American Sanskrit Institute. About more advanced study>>



The Sanskrit Weekend is the signature workshop of the American Sanskrit Institute.

And how do I “start with meaning”?

Join an ongoing course. In the courses Jo teaches, we repeat the same steps over and over again in the quest to connect fully and directly to a Sanskrit text. Usually, we work on a selection from the Yoga Sutras or a mantra or invocation.

  • First we read and chant. And chant again!
  • Next we look at any blending of words that has taken place, in order to identify the individual words in the text - not always easy since Sanskrit blends words together. That is, we "undo the sandhi.” (Sandhi is the blending of sounds and words.)
  • Then we look at the word endings, and at any compound words there may be, in order to determine the role of each word in the text. Is it the subject? The means? The reason? We use all available clues to figure out how the words fit together in relationship to each other.
  • Finally we look at word roots and derivations to get a full flavor of what each word means, and put it all together to discern the overall meaning!

Jo offers ongoing courses that meet monthly - in Manhattan (taught using our familiar Latin characters as well as Devanagari) and in Queens (taught in Devanagari only). We use the Yoga Sutra Workbook as our textbook. For details, see events >>

Newcomers are welcome to join the ongoing courses, but beginners will need to arrange a private lesson first as an introduction and orientation. Contact Jo >>

How can I bring Sanskrit to my students and colleagues?

What about more advanced study? And what if I can't make it to Sanskrit classes?




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