The Language of Yoga: An Introduction to Sanskrit and its History 2018-02-01T23:06:12+00:00

The Language of Yoga: An Introduction to Sanskrit and its History with Seth Powell

Saturday March 10 | 1:30-4:30pm

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Sanskrit is one of the most ancient languages in the world. In ancient and medieval India, Sanskrit was the dominant intellectual, spiritual, and cosmopolitan language. For some, it is revered as the language and voice (vāc) of the entire cosmos, the vibratory ground of reality itself.

In this workshop you will be exposed to this rich legacy of Sanskrit’s past, and guided through a unique experience of studying the Sanskrit language today. We will begin with a brief introduction to the history of Sanskrit—learning about its grammatical nature, scripts, literature, and Sanskrit’s unique role as the purveyor of yogic wisdom through its precise syllabary.

We will give attention to the correct pronunciation of the names of common yogic terminology, including: postures (āsana), breathing techniques (prāṇāyāma), yogic seals (mudrā) and binds (bandha). Slowly, we will progress towards chanting a few Sanskrit mantras, some verses from the Yogasūtra of Patañjali, building towards our “peak” practice—the recitation of a couple traditional Sanskrit verses (śloka) from yogic scriptures.

Students will walk away from this workshop with:

  • A deeper appreciation for Sanskrit’s spiritual and cosmopolitan history
  • A better understanding of Sanskrit’s literary past
  • A brief introduction to Sanskrit grammar
  • Confidence in their ability to correctly pronounce yogic terms in Sanskrit
  • Knowledge of the most commonly mispronounced Sanskrit words in the yoga world!

*No prior knowledge of Sanskrit is assumed. Handouts will be provided.

$40 Early Bird (by February 17)


Seth Powell is a longtime practitioner of yoga and a scholar of Sanskrit, yoga, and Indian religion, and is the founder of Yogic Studies. He is currently a PhD Candidate in South Asian Religions at Harvard University, where he is writing his dissertation on the history, theory, and practice of medieval and early modern yoga traditions. Seth also holds degrees in the study of religion from the University of Washington (MA) and Humboldt State University (BA). He has trained in Sanskrit with some of the world’s leading experts in the West, as well as with traditional pandits in India. Seth has taught and lectured for numerous university courses on the religions and literature of India, Hinduism, Buddhism, and yoga traditions, and presents his research regularly at international conferences.

As a scholar-practitioner, Seth is gifted in his ability to present the ancient teachings of yoga and the Sanskrit language clearly in an accessible, light-hearted, and inspiring manner—while maintaining a rigor and sensitivity to traditional Indian knowledge systems. Seth conducts workshops and lectures regularly on the history and philosophy of yoga at studios, teacher trainings, and universities around the country. You can find him online at