Want to dive deeper into yoga philosophy and asana with the research of Sanskrit? Join Richard Rosen—writer, YJ contributing editor, and co-founder of the previous Oakland- and San Francisco Bay-based Piedmont Yoga Studio—for Sanskrit 101: A Beginner’s Guide. Through this 6-week introductory on-line course, you’ll study Sanskrit translations, refine your pronunciations, discover its historic highlights, and extra. But, much more considerably, you’ll rework your apply as you start to perceive the sweetness and which means behind the unique language of yoga. Sign up today!
Are you prepared to confidently stroll into your yoga class with a bit greater than “namaste” in your vocabulary? Pronunciation is a superb place to begin increasing your Sanskrit repertoire. That’s as a result of, on this complicated language, the place you place the accent within the phrase ananda, for instance, can actually make the distinction between bliss and sadness, as Richard Rosen, who leads our Sanskrit 101 course, factors out.
Sanskrit phrases are authentically rendered in their very own alphabet, referred to as Nagari. Through the method of transliteration, the place the characters of 1 language are represented by the characters of one other, Westerners get the phrase rendered in a approach we will learn. But as a result of there are 48 Nagari characters and simply 26 roman letters, it’s not a one-to-one ratio. That’s why typically you’ll see Sanskrit phrases written in Roman letters with straight or squiggly strains or dots over or underneath them, like in Adho Mukha Śvānāsana. These are referred to as diacritical marks or indicators. And they’re a method of getting multiple sound out of a single letter.
To have the ability to pronounce Sanskrit phrases appropriately, you’ll want to know which sound every mixture of Roman letter and diacritical mark represents. Here, Rosen shares a number of sounds widespread in the usual yoga vocabulary.
An Ṛ in a transliteration of Sanskrit, like in “Vṛkṣāsana,” is what’s often known as the ṛ-vowel. Yes, vowel. The Ṛ adopted by one other consonant is definitely pronounced prefer it’s adopted by an I, as within the identify “Rick,” making it “vrik-SHA-sa-na.”
A C in a transliteration is pronounced just like the CH in “church.” Sometimes you’ll see the H included within the transliteration to assist English readers, different occasions not. A number of widespread yoga phrases with the “CH” sound: Ardha Candrāsana (“are-dah chan-DRA-sa-na”), Cakra (“cha-kra”), Marīcyāsana (“mah-ree-chee-AH-sa-na”).
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Conversely, TH in a Sanskrit transliteration isn’t pronounced just like the TH in “the,” however fairly just like the Ts in “light.” The right pronunciation of the phrase “hatha” for instance is “ha-ta,” not “ha-tha.”
four. Ṣ, Ś, S
Pronunciation: “SH” or “SA”
Both Ṣ and Ś are pronounced like SH in “shut.” For instance they sound the identical in Vṛkṣāsana (“vrik-SHA-sa-na”) and Śavāsana (“sha-VAH-sa-na”). S and not using a diacritical mark is pronounced the best way it appears, as in āsana (“AH-sa-na”).
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Pronunciation: “VA” or “WA”
If a V is at first of phrase like Vasisthasana, it’s pronounced the best way we’d pronounced it in English just like the V in “valley.” If, nevertheless, it follows one other consonant, as in Adho Mukha Śvānāsana, it’s pronounced like a W (“ah-doh moo-kah shwa-NAH-sa-na”).
Eager to study extra? Sign up now for Sanskrit 101: A Beginner’s Guide.