Yoga and Sanskrit

For our 44th episode, I sat down with Nicolai Bachman. Nicolai holds an M.A. in Eastern Philosophy, an M.S. in Nutrition. He has studied extensively at the American Sanskrit Institute, the Ayurvedic Institute, the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the Vedic Chant Center. Nicolai has been teaching Sanskrit, chanting, yoga philosophy and Ayurveda since 1994. He has authored several books on Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy. Today, we sat down to talk about the importance of Sanskrit within the yoga tradition.

Listen to the full episode here :


1- To go deep in yoga you have to start learning Sanskrit. You have to include something more than posture. Not only does it shows you respect the practice and the tradition, but the name of the pose carry information about the intended experience.

2- The pronunciation of the language is of the highest priority. The vibrating energy of the words expresses prana and carries the meaning of the word.

3- When doing mantras, If you pronounce the words wrong it changes the intention, so make sure you pronounce it correctly and find a teacher that can help you.

4- Rhythm is build in the language. Words are broken down in syllables. have long and short sounds. and are done at different tones (low to high) It breaks out the monotony and helps retrain and learn information.

5- When studying the Yoga Sutras, learn the sound of the verses first. As you chant the sutras, all the information it carries will come forward. The sound is associated with the meaning.


  • What is Sanskrit, where/when it originated… what should we know about it?

  • Is it a dead language?

  • How does knowing Sanskrit add to our practice?

  • Do you think teachers in the west should use it more than they are?

  • If people want to learn Sanskrit, where should they start?

  • Why is Sanskrit pronunciation important?

  • Does the placement of the tongue helps activate the energy channel?

  • What are the most mispronounced words?

  • What are the symbols that can help us know how to pronounce?

  • Why is the musicality important?

  • Do you believe it’s essential to do mantras in Sanskrit?

  • In traditions like Kundalini Yoga, the chant and mantras are in Gurmukhi instead of Sanskrit. Does it matter?




Thank you so much for listening and being part of our 44th episode! If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe, rate and review anywhere you listen. I really appreciate your financial support with this podcast. If you can, know that you can make a big difference even with a small donation to help me cover the production cost and allow me to create more episodes. Visit and become a vip member. As a thank you, get access to new exclusive content every month. Feeling stressed and tired after the holidays? This month, get a yoga nidra; a guided meditation to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.


Nicolai has been teaching Sanskrit, chanting, yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and other related topics since 1994. He has a knack for synthesizing and organizing complex topics into simple and understandable presentations. His education combines informal, traditional study with the academic rigor of university classes. Nicolai studied extensively at the American Sanskrit Institute, the Ayurvedic Institute, the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the Vedic Chant Center. He holds an M.A. in Eastern Philosophy, an M.S. in Nutrition, and is eRYT500 certified. His ongoing studies continue to broaden his repertoire and inform all future classes.

Nicolai has authored several Sanskrit book/CD learning tools including 108 Sanskrit Flash Cards, The Language of Yoga (Sounds True 2005), The Language of Ayurveda, and The Yoga Sutras: An Essential Guide to the Heart of Yoga Philosophy (Sounds True 2010). He also wrote an easy-to-read paperback on yoga philosophy called Path of the Yoga Sutras (Sounds True 2011).

Learn more about him :


Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound - By David Frawley

Susanna Friedman Teacher Training in Baha

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