The traditional Indian method of learning Sanskrit is through oral transmission, memorizing texts first and then learning the meaning. The western academic approach methodically teaches the alphabet, declensions, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary building. Yogāvatāraṇam, a new Sanskrit textbook, integrates the traditional and academic approaches for a full and practical study experience.

Yogāvatāraṇam approaches language systematically while at the same time allowing students to read important and relevant texts as soon as possible, while emphasizing proper pronunciation through its audio accompaniment (see below). The first section teaches reading and basic grammar. The second covers more extensive grammar. By the third section the student can begin to read and understand even more complex texts such as the Upaniṣads.

Yogāvatāraṇam is appropriate for all levels of study, whether a student is brand new to Sanskrit or already has experience in pronunciation, reading devanāgarī script, interpreting meaning and studying grammar--and whether the class is academic or based in a yoga course. This new approach conjoins theory and practice to invoke an active experience of the philosophy, the practice and the culture, that together inform the multiplicity of meaning contained within that single and powerful word 'yoga.'



Alphabet Charts
Sandhi Charts
Verb Charts

Audio Files:

Introduction to the Audio Accompaniment: We begin with an invocation to Gaṇeśa, the remover of obstacles, and a chant to the guru to help open our eyes (and our ears)! In Part I, the audio files begin with the Sanskrit alphabet and contain the grammatical conjugations and declensions as well as all the examples and exercises from this section. In Parts II and III, only the examples and exercises are given. The Vedic chants are done with the Vedic pitch accents, as the proper pronunciation and exact cadence is essential. All other chants are done in melodies I have learned from my teachers in India. You may know some of these chants with slightly different tunes, and while pronunciation is still important, the intent is more important than the particular intonation for these chants. Try to listen to the audio as much as possible as you go through the book and recite along with the chants. The bonus tracks at the end of Part III are songs I recorded years ago with Anne H. Pollack when I was studying Hindustani and Carnatic classical music. The first is a chant to Gaṇeśa; the second is a song in Kannada to Lord Śiva, considered the first yogi and god of the yogis, explaining that you must have faith if you want him to respond.

Sanskrit Alphabet
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3, part 1
Chapter 3, part 2
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7, part 1
Chapter 7, part 2
Sandhi Review
Part I Review
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Part II Review
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Part III Review
Bonus Track 1
Bonus Track 2

Music Credits

For everything except the bonus tracks:
Vocals and Co-Produced by Zoë Slatoff
Co-Produced by Anne H. Pollack
For the bonus tracks:
Magica Axe Music, BMI
Vocals and Vocal Arrangements by Zoë Slatoff
Composition, Instrumental Performance and Production by Anne H. Pollack