The Challenges of Pronouncing and Recalling Asana Names in Sanskrit​

At the very beginning of YTT, learning Sankrit asana names seemed a huge obstacle to me. Sanskrit names are integral to my progress and languages are not my strong point. I tried hard to hear the sounds when Master Sree spoke in Sanskrit and vigorously searched the manual during theory lessons. However, I knew that I needed to self-study and find methods that suited my learning style.

Which methods have I tried?

1. I made a 1-page resource for each sun salutation (large images and names) so that I could practise poses while speaking. I felt a positive shift in confidence. This was the initial breakthrough.

2. I downloaded the “Yoga 108” app recommended by Master Sree. This was useful because I was able to study the Sanskrit and English names for poses at my own pace and play the audio, which helped me to learn pronunciation.

3. I recorded myself saying the Sanskrit names for the sun salutations and played it back to myself while completing the poses. It helped me to be less embarrassed about my pronunciation during studio practise.

4. I asked my partner to follow my instructions in English and then in Sanskrit. He seemed impressed, which gave me some confidence. We practised for an hour at night and 30 minutes in the morning before class. I noticed an improvement in my memory.

4. Finally, a friend offered to make me some flashcards with English/Sanskrit names for ashtanga Series 1 poses. She also broke down some of the words for me, such as Ardha means half, Baddha means bound, Padma means lotus and so on. I’m still working on remembering so many names but knowing some common words is really useful.

Although I have a long way to go, I can now see that it is possible to learn to Sanskrit names and most of all overcome self-doubt by practising regularly.