THE TRADITIONAL INDIAN METHOD OF LEARNING SANSKRIT is through oral transmission, by first memorizing texts and then learning their meaning. The Western academic approach methodically teaches the alphabet, declensions, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary building. Zoe Slatoff-Ponte's Yogavataranam integrates the traditional and academic approaches for a full and practical experience of Sanskrit study. Yogiivataranam approaches language systematically and at the same time allows stu-dents to read important and relevant texts as soon as possible, while emphasizing proper pronunciation through its audio accompaniment. The first section teaches reading and basic grammar, the second covers more extensive grammar, and by the third, students can begin to read and understand even more complex texts, such as the Upanisads.
Yogavataranam includes: • Step-by-step instructions on how to correctly write the alphabet
• Exercises throughout, along with review exercises for each chapter
• Sidebars on Indian philosophy, culture, etymology, and more
• Vocabulary building based on important texts
• An extensive glossary of terms
• Consideration of translation techniques and challenges
• Original translations of passages from central texts, such as the Yogasfitra, Bhagavadgita, HathapradTpika, and various Upanisads
In addition, Web-based audio files accompany each chapter to teach proper pronunciation.
Yogavataranam is appropriate for all levels of study, whether a student is brand-new to Sanskrit or already has experience in pronunciation, reading devanagari script, interpreting meaning, or learning grammar—and whether the course is academic or based in yoga. This new approach joins theory and practice to invoke an active experience of the philosophy, the practice, and the culture that together inform the multiplicity of meanings contained within the single and powerful word "yoga."
Zoe Slatoff-Ponte has spent extensive time studying yoga and Sanskrit over the past twenty years both in Mysore, South India, and in her hometown of New York City. She has an M.A. in Asian languages and culture from Columbia University and was authorized to teach Ashtanga yoga by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 2002. Yogavataranam is her attempt to build a bridge between these two worlds. Zoe teaches yoga and Sanskrit with her husband, Ben Ponte, at their yoga shala on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
Ben Ponte was born in Australia and now lives and works in New York City. He has an M.A. in fine arts from the College of Fine Arts, Sydney. He has been traveling to India and practicing yoga since the late 1990s and was authorized to teach by R. Sharath Jois. His work draws on this experience to explore the perceptual process as a moment of translation, and he is currently focusing on the use and effect of mobile media devices on the body/mind relationship in public space.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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