From Mātra to Mantra

The Sounds of Sanskrit

This 10-week course is a meditative mind-body-heart journey into mantra, sacred sound. Mantra is used throughout the tradition and is an integral aspect of sacred practice. This course will help build a foundation by which you can start engaging nearly any aspect of yoga and the dharma tradition with understanding and precision.

An 8-Week Meditative Learning Journey Into the Heart of Sacred Sound

Each week, we will learn to hear and produce different sounds, called mātras, which are letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. These sounds are sacred on their own, and also come together to form mantras. Along with physical practice, we will also be working on core inner aspects of the practice, such as intention and awareness. Throughout the course, students will build an intimate relationship with their breath, sound, and speech while deepening their listening and sensing skills.

Each session of the course is limited to 30 students. Classes are 1-hour each week and held online. There are also weekly homework assignments (about 20-30 minutes). You will need a webcam, microphone, and a stable internet connection. Recordings will be available after each class.

Tuition for 10-Week Series: $240

This course is open to all levels, and is a required prerequisite for all intermediate and advanced classes.
If necessary, please email to apply for a scholarship.

NEXT SESSION BEGINS: Saturday May 9th 11am-12pm AM PST

Class 1:

The Origin of Sound

अ आ इ ई उ ऊ

Class 2:

The Beginning of Movement

ऋ ॠ ऌ ॡ ए ऐ ओ औ

Class 3:

The Diverse Universe

क ख ग घ च छ ज झ

Class 4:

The Column of Light

ट ठ ड ढ त थ द ध

Class 5:

Vibrations of Consciousness

प फ ब भ ङ ञ ण न म

Class 6:

Connecting the World

य र ल व श ष स ह ज्ञ क्ष

Class 7:

The Five Acts of Śiva

अं अ:

Class 8:

In the Presence of the Sacred

ॐ गं ऎं श्रीं

Course Instructor:

Shivani Hawkins

Living Sanskrit Founder and Core Teacher
Student Experiences:
"Sanskrit is rooted in sounds—human and divine. This class took us to those essential roots of Sanskrit sound, guiding us through how to shape each sound in mouth and breath, building from the most essential sounds to the complex combinations, and finally flowering into words and mantra. This isn't merely technical; learning to make these new sounds challenges and opens the heart and spirit. Shivani met us there with profound compassion. She fluidly wove language skill-work together with a profound and deeply available love for this ancient spiritual source. I felt held in ways I didn't expect—and didn't expect to need. Western postural yoga and chanting culture have popularized words borrowed from Sanskrit—this class is an invitation to the source-root of the language, in real potency."
Student Experiences:
"I was expecting to learn how to pronounce mantras and words more accurately, but I actually discovered that how I breathe and speak affects the way I "show up" in the world and manage my personal power. That speaking with integrity includes how I actually form and articulate the words that I use."
Student Experiences:
"Although I've studied Sanskrit before, this class with Shivani has been the most impactful and practical. She wove in the profound philosophical and cosmic realities of Sanskrit in an approachable and easeful way, while holding the reverence inherent in this sacred language which pulls so many of us in. Shivani was also able to illuminate some of the subtle challenges westerners experience in studying Sanskrit which I hadn't realized before. She bridged what it is like to hold openness and reverence in a cross cultural learning experience. I am so grateful to have these meaningful teachings so accessible."
Student Experiences:
"If you practice mantra—and *especially* if you share mantra with others and are not native to its traditions—I highly recommend this class! I learned so much about each letter in the Sanskrit alphabet, the subtleties of the “levels” of mantra and voice, and the alphabet’s embodiment of the creative process of the universe. Not least of all, I retooled and refined my pronunciation (including sounds that I did not even know existed due to my English-native ears—and I’ve been practicing mantra via oral transmission for 13 years). That alone kind of blew my mind. Shivani is a native practitioner of Kashmir Shaivism and a generous, warm and enthusiastic teacher. She has 2 spots left. Grab one. Your practice will change."
Student Experiences:
"I experienced that Sanskrit is the vibration of the universe, a code that inhabits each of us and that we can be guided to tune into that knowing. Since I took the class, I have developed a new conscious connection to sound and intuition. I feel less intimidated and more curious about my own heritage. This particular class helped me understand nuances of tradition which were never explained to me by my Indian family in the US, to connect to my roots with clarity and joy! Thank you, Shivani!"
Student Experiences:
"[This] course was a breakthrough experience for me- both personally & professionally. I work as a public speaker, in many different capacities- and for years have noticed a slight speech impediment that I could reduce but never really solve. When I was tired, irritable or upset it would come back. After a few short weeks of study with Shivani Hawkins at Living Sanskrit, I noticed that my whole approach to speaking was transformed- with a subtlety that ensured it was occurring organically… almost imperceptibly and yet the results were completely tangible and profound- far-reaching in their effects... what I assumed was a ‘speech’ issue was much more about my breath energy, and I began to notice all the ways I was leaking energy in my daily life, through speech, thoughts, actions and interactions. My speech became clearer. Less ahh’s, umm’s… I could connect whole thoughts to each other and sustain my audience’s attention in environments that were distracting, to say the least! And most of all, my speech impediment was entirely gone!"
Student Experiences:
"Since I took the class, I have found that my relationship with mantras and Sanskrit literature has deepened immeasurably. Sanskrit isn't just a way of describing ideas, it is a way of transmitting the actual resonance and power of phenomenon being described. This particular class helped me transform my understanding of what we are doing when we use sound to transmit patterns of energy."
Student Experiences:
"Sacred sound and mantra lovers might consider this online offering... I am halfway through it, and can really recommend learning this subtle art from a native speaker who knows how to bring it to life. Shivani injects the practice with her beauty and grace and makes it feels so natural and gentle. My awareness of the profound connection between breath, energy, voice, sound, truth and divine presence is definitely deepening through these contemplative practices."
Student Experiences:
"There aren’t enough words to express the profound gratitude I have for having found this path, and the gentle, easeful and playful ways ‘Living Sanskrit’ has coaxed me out of contraction and into a space of compassion, playfulness, joy and discovery. I would recommend this course to anyone of human descent. This experience has reminded me what a profound gift it is to be human, and to have the opportunity to use speech for the highest purpose. Thank You."
Student Experiences:
"Not a week goes by… that I don't think with gratitude how your Sanskrit class helped me. Even to the point of remembering your compassion when it feels like a tongue twister. Focusing on my breath and the pronunciation makes me go into meditation. I love chanting!"
Student Experiences:
"I experienced that Sanskrit is more than just a language for communication. It is a system for creating a more intimate relationship with the fundamental components of reality."
Student Experiences:
I just took this course last fall. An amazing dip into the unfolding of consciousness as sound as it is taught by the wonderful Shivani Hawkins. She's an excellent guide and teacher. I rarely recommend things... however if you are interested in Sanskrit then check this out, (and super reasonably priced). Jai Ma!

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