Have you ever sat in a class at a yoga studio and wondered what namaste means? Maybe you never really thought about it and just went with the flow? Let’s dive into this a little.
Namaste is an ancient greeting and gesture of respect from the Hindu culture. The word comes from the Sanskrit words “Namas” (meaning bow) and “Te” (which means you).
Literally translated, it means bowing to you.
In practice, it’s a simple way for two people to greet each other with love and honor.
It can be used in any situation – when meeting someone new, at the end of a conversation, or even over email or text message. It’s a powerful practice that can bring a sense of peace, understanding, and love to an encounter.
It’s common for the instructor to say “Namaste” at the beginning or end of the class.
But, the namaste gesture has a deeper meaning in Indian culture and this meaning is not always translated well for students who are beginners or new to yoga.
In Yoga, What does namaste mean?
Namaste is a Sanskrit word and the definition of namaste is “the light in me honors the light in you.”
When used as a greeting, it’s more about using your awareness to connect with your yogi and find what’s beautiful.
In this sense, namaste can bring more peace and joy into your life. You’ll notice changes, even when saying namaste to someone you see every day.
It’ll increase your awareness as well. When you use the word “namaste,” you’re acknowledging that you notice and care about the light in someone else.
Why is it said in yoga classes?
Namaste is an important part of class etiquette.
Whether you’re a yoga teacher or a student, saying it shows that you’re present in the class and grateful to practice yoga. It’s not just something that you say at the beginning of class.
As your day progresses, stop and say namaste as often as possible. Use this word to connect with yourself and others around you.
Where does namaste come from?
Namaste is an ancient greeting that comes from the Hindu faith. Traditionally, Hindus say namaste to one another and to great teachers as a sign of respect, love, and honor. The hands are pressed together in this act of reverence because it symbolizes that you’re uniting your spirit with someone else’s.
How is namaste pronounced?
As with many Sanskrit terms, pronouncing this word might have you scratching your head.
But, the pronunciation of namaste is relatively simple.
Namaste is pronounced: Nah-mah-stay or Noo-mah-stay
What other things does it mean?
Namaste can also be used as a word to describe yourself. In this context, you’re an embodiment of divine light and love for others to share with the world. When you say namaste to yourself, it’s a way of reminding yourself that you’re worthy of love and can share it with the people in your life.
When do we use namaste in yoga practice?
The most frequent time to namaste is used in yoga is at the beginning and end of a yoga class.
At the start, your yoga instructor will say it as a way for you to acknowledge one another and to practice reverence.
However, it apparently is confusing to South Asians why one would also then say “namaste” at the end of a class.
According to Susanna Barkataki, author of Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice, she says, “Namaste and Namaskar is said when I meet and greet an elder.” Which is different from how it’s used in Western culture.
There is a greater meaning when it’s used in daily conversations as a common greeting rather than just as a saying used at the end of class in yoga settings.
How do we hold our hands in namaste?
The way you hold your hands is with the palms facing up as you press them together at heart level in Anjali mudra or prayer pose.
This represents that we’re accepting whatever comes our way in class and finding love for it all. We’re also ready to share that energy with others around us.
What are mudras and why are they important?
Mudras are hand positions that have particular meanings behind them.
They’re used in yoga to strengthen and heal physical, mental, and spiritual health. Each of the positions has a definition similar to that of namaste.
Mudras are important because they represent wisdom, compassion, strength, and peace. The gestures can also signify many different words, including “yes” as well as the letter ‘O’ in some mudras.
This is why they’re used so often in yoga for meditation or prayer.
What is Anjali mudra?
It’s a hand gesture and it’s a sacred prayer position that you can use when greeting someone, and it shows reverence for their presence.
To do Anjali mudra properly, place both of your hands on top of each other as if you’re praying at the altar or saying grace in the church. You’ll hold them in front of your chest (aka your heart chakra ).
Why do we bow when we say namaste?
The act of bowing is an important part of your yoga practice. It’s a way to show respect for the people and instructors around you, as well as yourself.
Bowing can be done before or after class when saying namaste. It’s also appropriate to bow in front of sacred objects (like statues) and other yogis who you feel have gone before you.
A deep bow, or namaskar, is an act of reverence in yoga and can be done at any time. Namaste is the shorter version that most yogis use while greeting each other.
When do we bow?
You can bow whenever it’s appropriate to show deep respect for your teacher and for yourself.
What is namaskar and how is it different from namaste?
Most people think that namaste and namaskar are interchangeable. They’re not. Namaskar is another greeting used in yoga, but it’s said differently. It’s pronounced: Nah-mah-sahr
It can also be written as “namaskara,” depending on how you look at the word. You’ll notice that the spelling is different, but these words mean the same thing.
Some people use both of these words in their practice. In fact, saying one or the other can help you remember your connection with divinity and each person you interact with throughout your day.
Namaste is a way to connect all beings on Earth, while namaskar is an option for connecting with the divine in a more masculine form.
Related Post: 5 Tips for Starting a Home Yoga Practice for Beginners
How can I learn more about it?
There are many books on the topic of namaste. You can find them at your local bookstore or online.
There are also plenty of websites with information about this word. Namaste is something that every yogi should want to learn about, especially if you want to gain an increased understanding of your practice!
The word namaste has a variety of meanings, depending on the situation. It can be used as an introduction or to show respect for someone else.
It’s also often said after doing yoga poses and meditation in order to signify that you’re connecting with both yourself and others around you. If you want more information about this sacred word, there are plenty of books available at your local bookstore or online!
Yoga Journal: https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/beginners/beginner-faqs-why-yoga/the-meaning-of-namaste/
Susanna Barkataki: Embrace Yoga’s Roots: Courageous Ways to Deepen Your Yoga Practice