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Ashtanga and Sanskrit: Practice and Philosophy with Zoë Slatoff


Friday, 4/28, 5pm-7:30pm:  Asana Names and Ashtanga Mantras in Sanskrit!
Saturday, 4/29, 9am-11:30am:  Extended Led Primary Series
Saturday, 4/29, 2pm-5pm:  Practice and Philosophy
Sunday, 4/30, 9am-12pm:  Mysore
Sunday, 4/30, 2pm-5pm:  Yoga Sutra Chanting and Philosophy


Registration open until April 28. 
Cost:  $180 (full workshop) / $50 (single session) / $30 (led primary/mysore)

Zoë Slatoff discovered yoga at the age of 15 and has been devoted to a daily practice ever since. Since 2000, she has traveled to Mysore almost every year to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute with Śrī K. Pattabhi Jois, R. Sharath and Saraswathi. She is honored to have received Guruji's blessing to teach in 2002. In 2009 she received Authorization level 2. Zoë has a Master's Degree in Asian Languages and Culture from Columbia University. Her master's thesis was a translation and exploration of a Sanskrit text on Yoga and Ayurveda. Zoë’s recent book Yogāvatāraṇam: The Translation of Yoga is a Sanskrit textbook for yoga students that integrates traditional and academic methods of learning, teaching grammar and reading through classical yoga texts. She teaches daily Mysore classes as well as Sanskrit and yoga philosophy at her yoga shala in New York - Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side.


ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

Friday, 4/28, 5pm-7:30pm:  Asana Names and Ashtanga Mantras in Sanskrit!
In a time when everything is continually new and we rely more and more upon machines and less upon our own minds, there is all the more value in studying a “dead language.” Learning Sanskrit allows you to feel like a child again and to cultivate a pure form of concentration. It is a meditation in itself and opens the door to a whole new philosophy and way of understanding. In this talk, I will discuss my experience with the Ashtanga practice and what drew me to study Sanskrit during my first trip to Mysore. We will talk about the beauty and power of Sanskrit study in relation to yoga practice and philosophy.

We will be chanting and I will give a brief introduction to the Sanskrit alphabet. We will explore the opening and closing mantras of ashtanga yoga, learning the proper pronunciation and discussing their meaning and importance in relation to the ashtanga practice. We will then go through the āsana (posture) names in primary series and break down and discuss their meaning and the stories they invoke. We will also discuss the vinyāsa counting system and how it runs through the practice. An understanding of the ashtanga mantras and āsana names will add a new depth of meaning to your practice.

Saturday, 4/29, 9am-11:30am:  Led Ashtanga Primary Series
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). This Vinyasa method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of asanas. The Ashtanga Primary Series will be led with extra time for modifications and adjustments.

Saturday, 4/29, 2pm-5pm:  Practice and Philosophy
In this workshop I will give an overview of yoga philosophy from Vedic times to the present. I will highlight specific verses from yogic texts, such as the Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, Yoga Sūtra, and Haṭha Pradīpikā. We will discuss how the yoga philosophy is embedded within our daily yoga practice and how we can strengthen those connections.

Sunday, 4/30, 9am-12pm:  Mysore
Mysore-style is the traditional method of learning Ashtanga Yoga, as taught in Mysore, South India. Students receive individual instruction within a group setting, learning the practice slowly and progressively, with verbal and hands-on guidance. By practicing at your own pace and focusing on your breath and internal energy, you can go deeper into your practice on all levels. This method is for all ages and abilities. The practice is meant to be a moving meditation, which allows us to become more aware of our physical and mental patterns, with the same ultimate aim of quieting the mind in order to attain knowledge of our true self.

Sunday, 4/30, 2pm-5pm:  Yoga Sutra Chanting and Philosophy
In this workshop we will explore the Yoga Sūtra, highlighting key verses from all four chapters. Through chanting and discussion, we will investigate the meaning of yoga, as laid out in this text, and how it translates into our modern lives. The first chapter, the Samādhi Pāda, the Chapter on Meditative Absorption, provides a foundation for our yoga practice, giving a fundamental understanding of why we practice. The second chapter, the Sādhana Pāda, the Chapter on Practice, provides guidance for how we should practice, both on and off the mat. The third chapter, the Vibhūti Pāda, the Chapter on Superpowers, explores the powerful concentration that can be cultivated through practice and the various mystical capabilities it can produce as well as the dangers of being seduced by them. The fourth chapter, the Kaivalya Pāda, the Chapter on Oneness, focuses on the ultimate realization of our true nature. This workshop will provide insight into how the sūtras can help us to cultivate clarity, compassion, strength and joy in our practice and in our lives.