Comments

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Helen

Early in my yoga life the classes using only Sanskrit names were very frustrating. I would have to look at the instructor or other students to see what I was trying to do and never felt like I was any where near the correct pose. And yes it felt very elitist. And I have heard the same comment from new students in my classes. I really work at using both names and instruction.

Karenving

Insightful

Pam

Sanskrit is the language of Yoga. Using Sanskrit in class is a beautiful way to stay connected to the history and heritage of our practice. I intersperse my use of Sanskrit with the English names for postures and concepts and have heard no complaints so far. If used properly, I'm not sure I understand how there is a danger of injury (the teacher is still providing instruction, correct?) or how it could be considered 'elitist.'

Ida Unger

REgarding the article on Sanskrit - "Experiential learning" is when learning is based in experience as opposed to books. What your author describes asExperiential learning is "learning styles" as coined by educator, Howard Gardner of Harvard.

Swapan Mookerjee

This article highlights an important, though under emphasized aspect of yogic practice. When you learn music, ballet, etc you are learning the language of those arts. Thus we learn what those French, Italian, and Latin based terms are along with their pronunciations. Why is this even an issue when it comes to yogic instruction and practice? I will confess that the manner in which Sanskrit and Indian terms or names are "butchered" by teachers and students here in the US do sound hilarious at times to one who is familiar with those sounds and pronunciations. I try to be patient with my students and others since there are at times no equivalent letters in English. For example, there is the aspirated "bh" sound which is completely massacred by most yoga teachers who pronounce "Bhujangasana" as "Boojangasana". "Himalaya" is almost always mispronounced by most westerners. Sanskrit in some cases does not always emphasize the "a" sound at the end of the word. So even "Yoga" is in a sense mispronounced in the West. Similarly, the actual pronunciation is not "Aasanaas" but "Aasun" with a very soft inflection at the end, to the point where you can barely hear the "a" at the end.
As an Indian American I will not ridicule my fellow Americans if they can't pronounce a Sanskrit based word properly. It is more important for me as a teacher to at least have my students learn and attempt to pronounce the Sanskrit terms properly. I will also attempt to overlook the occasional case where a Westerner has acquired a Sanskrit name without adequate knowledge of gender or appropriateness.

Namaste! (pronounced Nuh muh stay - with a soft "t"!)

Andrea

Here is a problem I have-I moved from a different area of the country and I have a difficult time understanding the local accents. As a yoga teacher, I know Sanskrit, but put me in a workshop here and I have a hard time picking up what the teacher is saying in 'accent'/Sanskrit. Then we have guest teachers in from other countries, same problem. Then there is me-my students deal with my 'accent' from another area. All this on top of Sanskrit. I understand Anna's point of view completely, but from a practical point of view, I have to agree with Luke. I would rather forego an injury at this point. Sanskrit is not the only way to deepen one's yoga practice

Anna Dileo

If you are practicing Yoga and your Asana (the Physical poses) is the extent of what you feel Yoga is, I understand
why English would be "easier" But if you practice Yoga Asana as the third Limb out of Eight Limbs of Yoga,( Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga is the bedrock of all Yoga practice out there) the understanding that the Physical Poses ( Asana) is only a small part and part of a Bigger practice of both Philosophy and Spirituality,
Once the depth of the Practice of Yoga is incorporated , the reason for the use of Sanskrit becomes clear, It is Patanjali's language when writing the Yoga Sutra's, A Yogi's "Bible" It is an auspicious language , a beautiful language, A Spiritual language, and finally helps deepen your Yoga practice into a Spiritual practice.

Anna Dileo

If you are practicing Yoga and your Asana (the Physical poses) is the extent of what you feel Yoga is, I understand
why English would be "easier" But if you practice Yoga Asana as the third Limb out of Eight Limbs of Yoga,( Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga is the bedrock of all Yoga practice out there) the understanding that the Physical Poses ( Asana) is only a small part and part of a Bigger practice of both Philosophy and Spirituality,
Once the depth of the Practice of Yoga is incorporated , the reason for the use of Sanskrit becomes clear, It is Patanjali's language when writing the Yoga Sutra's, A Yogi's "Bible" It is an auspicious language , a beautiful language, A Spiritual language, and finally helps deepen your Yoga practice into a Spiritual practice.

LUKE GARCIA

People have a hard time remembering Sanskrit yoga poses names which in turn confuses the practitioner in the middle of a sequence that can result into an injury if it's the wrong pose. This why yoga poses should be called out in the language of the land the practitioner lives in which will make it easier. For instance if call out in Sanskrit, Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana, I wouldn't have a clue what the hell that pose is. But if you call out Revolved Half Moon pose in english, I'll know immediatly where to go because English is my native language and it makes it easier for me to understand without the risk of injury.

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