Using modern technology to learn ancient teachings: an app review

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I called “uncle!” The kind you call when your older brother has you in a wrestling hold when you are a kid. After my cassette tape player broke, I was forced to try learning the yoga sutras via Youtube. Although there are beautiful selections of chants on Youtube, most are so fast that you cannot learn them step by step. I was forced to seek other methods. Since you cannot summon a Sanskrit scholar to sit and teach you like in olden times (at least not without having to travel to India), the next best recourse is an app.

One fellow blogger guided me to Patanjali’s Yogasutra by TKV Desikachar. This sells for about six bucks on iTunes. What sold me on this app is that Desikachar himself said that while this is a good start, this should only be considered a very basic introduction to the sutras. In other words, he is not promising you the moon like other apps.

Desikachar is the son of  T. Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya taught both Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. Desikachar’s daughter Mekhala leads you through the chants. The novel part of learning via the app is the simplicity of just pressing one button to have the chant repeat. I find that it is helpful to listen to the chant 20 times without any other intentions except to listening to the beauty of the line. Then I try to repeat parts.

This app has two speeds: classical and simplified. The simplified is slower and breaks each sutra into easily digestible parts. The app also lays out the Padas (chapters) in an easy to access format.

The few downsides to this app are that Mekhala’s voice can be a bit adolescent sounding and that starts to be an issue after repeating a line many times. It would have been nice if TKV Desikachar would have chanted them himself. Also, the verses are written in one straight unbroken line, so it is difficult to read along when you chant.

Three weeks into my sutra study, I am on line 8. I am continuing to enjoy this learning process. Thank you Swtspontaneous for the tip!!

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14 thoughts on “Using modern technology to learn ancient teachings: an app review

  1. mahasadhu

    Hey Yogi friend, check these video out, it is BKS Iyengar and T. Krishnamacharya with Desikachar chants of Patanjali Yoga sutras, I am sure you will appreciate it. Namaste

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thank you Mahasadhu! This link is a beautiful version of the chant. There is pure joy and listening to an adept chanter confidently belt out each vowel sound. Perhaps that will be me in another 20 years 🙂

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  2. irishashtangi

    Never knew this existed. I am currently working from a CD which is good, but difficult to listen to a single sutra on repeat. I will definitely be downloading this later. Thanks for sharing. D

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