The American Sanskrit Institute was created by Vyaas Houston M.A. in 1989 with a vision of Sanskrit as a universal sacred language. Utilizing learning technology based on the theory and practice of yoga, ASI courses emphasize the ease and joy of learning Sanskrit through an immersion experience, the enjoyment of making the sounds, fluently reading the original Devanagari script, and directly reading, chanting and understanding sacred literature.
Vyaas (Tuck) Houston, Founder and Director
Vyaas (Tuck) Houston is the founder and director the American Sanskrit Institute. After teaching Sanskrit and yoga for more than 15 years, he discovered in 1987 a successful method for teaching Sanskrit based on the yoga model of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. His Sanskrit Training has provided thousands of people with the opportunity to discover their own unique relationship with Sanskrit. Vyaas Houston is the author of Sanskrit by CD and the Sanskrit Atlas 1.0, and has recorded and translated many Sanskrit classics.
Jo Brill, like many others, first read the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita in translation. Fascinated by the beauty of the words and concepts, she sought a direct connection to meaning. Since beginning her studies with Vyaas Houston, Jo has found expanded delight in familiar chants and texts. Now, she especially enjoys helping others discover their own ability to resonate with timeless sounds and to understand classic texts with precision. Jo has practiced yoga for nearly 20 years under the guidance of Mia Azcue, with whom she continues her yoga studies. She is a certified yoga teacher affiliated with the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation. She joyfully uses the ASI learning model in her communications job at a small nonprofit and as a mom of three. More at www.yogaforawareness.org.
Since 1994, Chris Buhner has travelled eight times to India to study with Ashtanga yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois as well as Bhagavad Gita chanting with the late Professor Sri Narayanacharya. Since 1997 he has studied Sanskrit with Vyaas Houston, director of the American Sanskrit Institute, and now teaches Sanskrit as a certified ASI instructor. Chris lives with his wife Wendy and daughter Emma Grace in South Miami, where they have their own yoga school, Prasadana.
Jann Einfeld is a writer, editor, and seasoned Hatha yoga teacher whose longtime fascination with the Indian scriptural texts drew her to join Vyaas Houston to study Sanskrit. Inspired by his brilliant adaptation of the principles of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as a learning model that liberates students from blocks and fears, Jann is a great proponent of the benefits of applying these principles to daily life. The result has been an ever deepening capacity for mindful focus and connection with wonder and joy. Jann also relishes the sacred sounds of Sanskrit as a singer in the southern Californian kirtan band, Jaya! She brings to her students a playful infectious enthusiasm for the ancient language, a quiet confidence in her students' capacity to learn and grow, and her enchantment with the yogic path as a doorway to vibrant health, worldly success, and deep inner contentment.
Leslie Dillingham Freyberg has been inspired by this method of learning Sanskrit ever since her first ASI Sanskrit class in the early 1990's. Upon the realization that one of the most essential aspects to understanding Sanskrit is that its grammatical laws are based on flow and resonance of sound and vibration, she was completely drawn into this transformative process. A Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, she uses her understanding of this language to enhance her teaching of Yoga as well. She serves on the faculties of Patricia Walden's Teacher-Training Program in Cambridge, MA, and at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in New York. Further inspired by Vyaas's chanting, Leslie has created a learning program through the production of a CD containing traditional chants from the Upanishads. For a sample of this CD, go to www.chantwithleslie.com.
Jo Leffingwell began studying Yoga in 1967. She is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and ERYT-500 Instructor with Yoga Alliance. Jo has traveled to India to study with the Iyengars as well as K. Pattabhi Jois. She began her studies of the Yoga Sutras in 1991, and in 1993 she took a Sanskrit alphabet course with Vyaas Houston. Thus began a long training, which included participating in many Yoga Sutras Intensives. With encouragement from Vyaas, Jo has compiled a glossary of words for the Yoga Sutras and an index for cross-referencing, which will be a part of a new edition of the Yoga Sutras Workbook. Jo currently teaches the Yoga Sutras, Pranayama and Meditation at her studio in Seattle and teaches Yoga Sutras Intensives at several studios in the Seattle area. Jo's website is web.mac.com/sadhanayoga.
Zoe Mai began practicing Ashtanga Yoga with Manju Jois in Philadelphia in 1995. In 2005 and 2006 she traveled to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Rangaswamy. She began her study of Sanskrit in India. Upon returning to the States, Zoe took her first Weekend Sanskrit Training with Vyaas Houston. The experience was illuminating and life transforming. After experiencing the ASI learning model, her study of Sanskrit became a graceful dance with a living breathing language. Since that first weekend training, Zoe has taken every opportunity to study with Vyaas in an attempt to move more deeply into the language and fully imbibe the yoga based learning model of the American Sanskrit Institute. She is currently teaching college classes in Psychology, Yoga Philosophy and Sanskrit using only the ASI learning model.
Josh Michaell began his study of Sanskrit with Vyaas Houston in 1997, initially as a way to deepen his understanding of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system. He brings his love of Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy into his teaching with great enthusiasm and humor. Josh is also a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in San Francisco, CA. He utilizes a yogic model of psychotherapy as a time-tested method to help clients in realizing greater freedom and wellbeing; bringing their yoga practice "off the mat" and into their daily lives. In his free time, Josh can be found chanting his way (slowly) through various yogic texts, making Thai curries from scratch, or playing old-time, Appalachian banjo music on the front steps of his house. Keep up with Josh's blog at www.mahaprana.wordpress.com.
Kathryn Payne began her study of yoga in her teens after reading Autobiography of a Yogi. She began her practice of asana in 1989 and is strongly influenced by the Iyengar tradition, having studied with the Iyengar family in India. Kathryn currently studies with Dona Holleman and has completed her 4 year teacher training course. Kathryn's understanding of yoga shifted radically when she began her study of Sanskrit with Vyaas Houston at a two-week residential retreat in 1995. Sanskrit gives her direct access to the source teachings of yoga and she is grateful for her ability to see the tapestry of sound, meaning and form woven by this powerful language. Kathryn teaches for the American Sanskrit Institute and has led Yoga Sutra study groups in Seattle for many years. She established Pacific Yoga Teacher Training in Seattle (www.pacificyoga.com) and more recently Island Yoga Center (www.islandyogacenter.com) on Vashon Island where she lives with her husband and daughter.
Rev. Cynthia Snodgrass has an undergraduate degree in Renaissance Music and a Master's degree in Musicology from Syracuse University, as well as a Master's of Divinity from Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary. An ordained Episcopal priest, she has served as a hospice chaplain for over seventeen years. She has conducted extensive research into the world's spiritual traditions of sacred sound, which resulted in the founding of the Sacred Sound Institute and the writing of The Sonic Thread: Sound as a Pathway to Spirituality. She has studied Sanskrit extensively with Vyaas Houston of the American Sanskrit Institute, as well as at Harvard University, while being a Senior Instructor for American Sanskrit. She has also produced two CDs: Waters from the Son/Waters from the Moon: An Altar of Sound and Dream Chants.