All of the 21 chapters start with a short verse from the yogasūtra. Then some new grammatical concepts are explained, followed by examples and exercises. Should you use the book for self-study, you can look up the answers to the exercises towards the end of the book. Translation already begins in chapter 2, almost always a mantra or a concrete verse from traditional texts. Of course, the opening and the closing mantra of Ashtanga Yoga are also part of the teaching (chapters 3 and 17, respectively).
Zoë is also offering audio files for all the texts and exercises via her website free of charge.
The path of self-study requires enormous self-discipline. For me, it was easier to go through the book with the help of Zoë’s online courses at OCHS. Each module lasts for eight weeks, and there is weekly homework that Zoë corrects in a very timely manner. Zoë also offers private classes.
For those who have at least reached the end of the first two sections of her book (e.g., chapter 14), Zoë has started a reading club. There, she is repeating things and offering more advanced knowledge, for instance, how to work with commentaries. Currently, we are translating Aparokṣānubhūti, the text on which Zoë is also writing her Ph.D. thesis.
Why would one learn Sanskrit?
As this blog is about the book, I assume you already have a reason or a specific interest in Sanskrit. Otherwise, why would you have read this blog? Still, you can find reasons from Zoë’s point of view here and my point of view here.
And if one would want to learn Sanskrit, how to go on about it?
Zoë’s online course at OCHS starts again on July 17th. You can find the link here.
I have also started to offer introductory workshops (in German and English, via Zoom or onsite). The next one (in German) is scheduled for March 26th and 27th. You can find details here. First of all, you will learn to read and write. Should you then be interested in following up, you can do so also with me in weekly classes. Teaching is based on Zoë’s excellent book. I am also offering private courses (in German and English). Should you be interested, get in touch.