Why We Say ‘Namaste’

jnana mudraIt has become tradition in the majority of yoga classes across the country to close with the sanskrit greeting ‘namaste.’ Often the yoga instructor will include a translation, “the divine in me bows to the divine in you” or something similar – replace ‘divine’ with ‘light’ or ‘spirit’ or another positive vibration. To me namaste is a recognition of the divine spark within each of us, that resides within our heart. By seeing and honoring this place within ourselves, we can more readily see and honor that place within others. When we say namaste there is a generated good-feeling, particularly after any time spent moving and breathing on the mat. Often we can feel the good vibes and a heightened sense of connection amongst our fellow yogis.

It’s nice to know the true translation of the sanskrit to deeper understand it’s meaning…

Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”

The namaste gesture is practiced by joining the palms together at heart center, closing the eyes, and bowing the head to the heart. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. Although typically done while saying the word namaste, these gestures by themselves are deep signs of respect, and connect us to the energy within the heart chakra, unconditional love and compassion.

Additionally, the bowing gesture, which is seen around the world and viewed as a sign of respect, is a great act of humility.  When we have lost our way, humility is a good place to start. Humility, or being humble doesn’t get a lot of recognition in news or social media, but I believe it’s importance is significant. Humility means that you are modest and ready (if not willing), to acknowledge when you are wrong – culturally, and/or individually this can be met with a good deal resistance. When we are humble it means that not only are we able to avoid over-estimating our own abilities, but also underestimating another’s. One who is humble is willing to accept, listen to, and give consideration to, advice and views offered by others regardless of their apparent status or perceived bank account numbers, age or appearance.

Anjali-300x215I appreciate the humbling quality that namaste represents. By bowing our head toward our heart center, we are surrenduring our mind, and ego-consciousness, to the wisdom of the heart. By placing our hands in front of our heart we are linking the energy of our heart chakra with our hands, increasing the flow of truth and love from our heart’s purity and infusing that energy into our actions. When we connect to the truth of our heart, then we not only feel but can understand on a vibrational level our shared connection, our Oneness with all things.

Saying namaste also connects us to the truth, love and pure vibration that flows from our heart.

Thank you all for diving deeper into the meaning of namaste, and saying it with me.

I bow humbly.