What exactly do we cover during the course?
The course breakdown is as follows:
Week 1: Yoga Sutras Chapter 1 and the sound of the main vowels and consonants, what the devenagari and transliteration look like, and putting into chant form, from OM, to Samadhi Padah of Yoga Sutras, to other mantra, perhaps invocation.
Week 2: Yoga Sutras Chapter 2 and some other well known mantras like the Gayatri Mantra. We will also begin to introduce the use of the harmonium.
Week 3: Yoga Sutras Chapter 3 and a first look at the Bhagavad Gita with harmonium
Week 4: Yoga Sutras Chapter 4, continued work with the Bhagavad Gita continued exploration of other mantras and the harmonium.
The main reason I think it would be good for anyone who is a regular practitioner of yoga is to understand that Sanskrit is about listening and intention. It is a language of vibration and even though asana works with vibration, the sound vibration of Sanskrit creates more awareness and enables us to delve into the more subtle bodies of yoga.
What exactly are the Yoga Sutras and what part have they played in the yoga we practice today?
The Yoga Sutras is a hugely important text about how to practice yoga. It is written in ’stitches’ or threads, that are short aphorisms that shine a light on how to quiet the wanderings of the mind. They are very relevant today, just as they were 2500 years ago, as they investigate the body-mind relationship. Interestingly, in today’s world of yoga we primarily focus on asana, but of the 196 sutras, only three focus on asana.
Why do we chant in yoga?
Chanting, or mantra (which means, to traverse (tra) the mind (manas) plays an important role in focusing the mind and breath, but it also sends vibrations throughout the body that is transformative and healing.
Why do you use the harmonium in chanting?
The harmonium is a very basic instrument of vibration. I use it in my chanting because I notice that it helps to yoke the sound of many into one. People feel less inhibited when there is a drone sound that they can tune to and in general it brings the energy of the room into harmony.