Have you ever wondered why at the beginning or end of a yoga class, your yoga teacher presses their palms together and says, “Namaste”?
Most likely you’ve encountered this term even if you’ve only attended a few yoga classes. You might have even found yourself repeating back “Namaste” to your teacher without really knowing what it means.
Breakdown of Namaste
The root of Namaste is broken down into two parts. Nama means bow and te means you. Literally, it means “I bow to you.”
One of the most common ways you hear this term translated is, “The light within me bows to the light within you.”
But a quick Google search of “definition of Namaste” will showcase how people from all over the world have translated this term.
The divine in me bows to the divine in you.
Salutation to you.
I honour the place in you where the whole universe resides.
My soul recognizes your soul. The sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you. I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy.
How to express Namaste in your body
To gesture Namaste, we place our palms together at our chest or between our eyebrow, close our eyes, and bow our head slightly.
Palms placed to the chest connects us with our heart chakra. The chakra system is made up of energetic points within the body where the ancient yogis tell us the seat of our spiritual power resides. The heart chakra (in Sanskrit: Anahata) is the centre where we can tap into love and peace within our bodies. When we make the Namaste gesture at our heart we connect to the wellspring of love within us and share it with others.
Palms placed to the brow connects us with our third eye chakra. The third eye (in Sanskrit: Ajna) is where our intuition, imagination, and visualization powers reside. Namaste performed at our third eye connects us to the deep truth within us and those around us.
How to incorporate Namaste into your yoga practice
Namaste is most often used at the end of a yoga class once you’ve moved your body to create a less restless state of mind. In this more peaceful state of being (I often call it being “yoga stoned” or “blissed out”), you’re more receptive to fully internalize the meaning of Namaste.
“Namaste is the common greeting in yoga,” says Isabelle Marsh. “It is a gesture to send a message of peaceful spirituality to the universe in the hopes of receiving a positive message back. Most say namaste as a means to thank the teacher or use as an expression of relief upon the ending of the class.”
What is your favourite way to use Namaste and how do you define it? Comment below to get involved in the conversation!
This article was written for us by our awesome Brand Warrior, the Canadian Michael Toru. For more information about Michael, visit his page here
We would like to give credit to yoga journal for the image used in this article.