Director, Zoe Mai

Zoe Mai
Zoe Mai is the director of the American Sanskrit Institute.  She studied with Vyaas Houston from the summer of 2006 until his retirement and has been dedicated to teaching Sanskrit using the ASI Learning Model since 2007.  She developed the current ASI teacher training, and continues to develop and co-create Sanskrit course offerings with Vyaas. 

Zoe is committed to the ongoing development and growth of the Institute.  She sees herself as a steward of ASI and is devoted to the organization’s original vision - that anyone can learn Sanskrit. 

At ASI the study of Sanskrit is the practice of yoga.

For Yoga students in the West, āsana is the first prong of Śiva’s trident.  Sanskrit and Sanyama are the second and third.  Zoe envisions a future in which Yoga Studios become Learning Centers, where all three components are taught and the elements of each practice inform the others. 

Zoe has created such a learning center, Trishula Yoga, where her Apprenticeship Program incorporates the ongoing study of asana, Sanskrit and Meditation (specifically the Sanyama Meditation). 

The ASI model of learning is, in essence, the application of Sanyama to the study of Sanskrit. When āsana, Sanyama and the study of Sanskrit are the three prongs of a learning curriculum, they work together synergistically creating opportunity for deeper understanding and connection to the true meaning and experience of yoga. For example the Sanyama meditation on the element air can be applied while practicing asana; then the practice of āsana becomes much more powerful and and in turn broadens the students understanding of Sanyama. The study of Sanskrit language naturally deepens all studies as most traditional yogic texts are written in Sanskrit. It is the language of yoga. 

As steward of ASI and having seen the depth and healing that occurs as a result of this three-pronged approach to yoga, Zoe seeks to provide support to yoga schools and communities that would like to incorporate Sanskrit and Sanyama into their daily practices. Such yoga communities are the yoga centers of the future.