Yoga is a beautiful mix of culture, spirituality and movement. When you practice yoga at a yoga studio, at the end of a typical yoga class, the yoga instructors sit cross-legged in front of the room, take a deep breath, press hands together in a prayer position, lean into a deep bow and reverently say "Namaste" (nah-mah-stay). Yoga students mimic the pose and return with a low bow, whispering namaste together. The practice of meeting the hands together at the heart by the sternum in a "prayer position" is known as the Anjali Mudra. This hand gesture is frequently used during yoga practice.
The Sanskrit word “Namaste” and gesture are widely used and understood in India. This divine salutation is frequently used in the West without fully understanding its meaning and proper application. Nonetheless, in India, this is a common greeting. So, what exactly does namaste mean? How do you say it? And when should you use it? Here's everything you need to know about this popular — but frequently misunderstood — yoga term.
The word Namaste means "I bow to you" or "The divine in me honors the divine in you" in English. More specifically, Namaste can be broken down into three parts to better understand its meaning. Nama means "bow," "adoration," or "respectful salutation" in the first part. The middle As means "I," and the final Te means "to you."
But, contrary to popular belief, it is not intended to have a religious connotation. Namaste is a mantra of peace and equality to live by both on and off the mat. When we speak of the divine, we don't mean something religious, but rather the most pure or elevated part of ourselves.
Saying Namaste can help to add authenticity to yoga and make people feel more welcome in class and in the community. The teachers initiate Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect for their students, and the students are invited to connect with their lineage, allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart. When used sincerely, namaste serves to acknowledge that each student is just as important in the practice as the instructor. When the yoga teachers say Namaste at the end of class, the students usually repeat it back.
Due to the fact that Namaste is a greeting that brings people together, it can also be used as an invitation to begin socializing after class. It can be the perfect starting point for a great conversation in certain situations.
This gesture connects us to the energy within the heart chakra, unconditional love and compassion. Namaste is all about enriching compassion into any environment. Every classroom community, particularly a yoga classroom, should strive to practice greeting, seeing, and hearing the fullness of one another's humanity.
Simple gestures can help you incorporate more Namaste into your daily life. Everyone can begin with small steps, such as listening more intently when someone speaks to us. Another way is to connect with their souls beyond the words they use, or pause for a moment rather than reacting quickly to negative situations. When you realize the true nature of reality, everything you do becomes an act of appreciation. Simply going about your daily business with full awareness becomes a complete meditation practice, a perfect form of worship, an offering to all beings.
When you remember the true meaning of Namaste, you recognize that you share this yoga practice with others, which ultimately helps you open yourself up to others. Recognizing the "divine" in others is the first step toward implementing Namaste outside of the mat. When we interact with others, we should not judge them based on their appearance or social status. We should always strive to see the good in them, their light, and their lovely soul. This concept also entails being open to other people's points of view and perspectives, regardless of where they come from.
In a nutshell
Namaste translates to “The divine light in me bows to the divine light within you.” Knowledge, devotion, and respect are all crucial in empowering the meaning behind a yogi's preferred way to end their yoga practice. By saying namaste, you are expressing that you see others for who they truly are. It validates your decision to identify with God-consciousness rather than the ego, which would have you believe that you are superior or inferior to any other being on this planet. It is a conscious decision to apply the spiritual lessons learned through yoga or meditation in everyday life.