Early on, I was inspired by TKV Deskichar and Gary Kraftsow to learn recitation of the Yogasutra by memory as a traditional path of yoga practice. Within a year’s time I’d visited Desikachar at his Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in India as well as begun my formal yoga study with Gary at his American Viniyoga Institute, then located in Hawaii. Shortly after, I became aware of S Ramaswami who was a long time student of Krishnamacharya and a founding partner of the KYM along with Desikachar. I reasoned there would be no better teacher from whom to learn the Yogasutra than Ramaswami.
When I sought out Ramaswami I thought I would need to return to India to study with him. In short order I managed to find his email address and receive an affirmative response to my query about private Yogasutra study. I also learned then that he was spending a fair bit of time visiting with his son who lived only two miles away from me. We arranged a meeting one mild spring day in 2002, made a nice connection, and planned to meet regularly for private study.
During our weekly ninety minute sessions, Ramaswami coached me in chanting the Yogasutra in much the same way he had learned many years earlier in private sessions with his teacher. With his in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit, Ramaswami was very precise about every nuance of correct pronunciation. We also spent some of the time discussing the translation and meaning of the sutras.
In the summer of 2002 Gary invited me to come aboard as an assistant at the AVI teacher training about to commence in Utah. Once there, he requested that I sit with the students –who were 80 in number at that time– and begin to teach them to chant the Yogasutra as I had been learning to do. This became a regular role for me over the following years –as it remains today. The students began asking me to produce an audio tutorial so they could continue the process of learning in my absence. Eventually I complied and recorded a pair of interactive CDs –section 1 and 2 of Patanjali’s Yogasutra– which replicate the call and response sessions. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the production value is very high which makes for an excellent resource to support any practitioner who wishes to chant the sutras.
Andy Sugerman's CD set is now available in the AVI Store.
Andy is a faculty member for the AVI Viniyoga Foundations Program for Teaching and Yoga Therapy. He is a Yoga Therapist in Gotham, NY. www.artofbreathing.com