Have you ever wondered what the word “namaste” means? Yoga teachers use it all the time, but not everyone knows its meaning.
Namaste is a traditional greeting used in India. It is often accompanied by a bow with the hands at the heart in Anjali mudra (prayer position). Anjali mudra is a sign of respect across Asia.
Namaste is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to “I bow to you”. To bow is to acknowledge respect to the person in front of you.
But namaste means more than that to yoga practitioners.
What’s love got to do with it?
That the hands are placed at the heart chakra gives a deeper meaning to the phrase namaste. The heart chakra is where the ancient yogis believed love flowed.
Have you ever felt warmth in your chest after hugging someone? Yogis would say that is love flowing in your heart chakra.
Namaste can also be translated to something along the lines of “the divine spirit in me honors the divine spirit within you”.
In yoga, and in many of the world’s greatest philosophies–or all for that matter–love is a state of being. Love and happiness are our natural state, and everything else is an obstacle to that natural state of being.
By saying namaste to someone, we are also honoring that natural, divine state. When we honor that divine state, we honor the similarities we have as humans.
The below image explains it very well: “Namaste – I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.”
What can namaste do for you?
Understanding the deeper meaning behind the custom is a start to realizing that yoga is not just about the postures. There is a rich philosophy behind yoga.
As a yoga teacher, I wish for everyone to find that true state of love and happiness if that is their desire. That is why I teach, that is why I blog, and that is why I post positive affirmations on Facebook and Twitter.
With that in mind, I say to you, “Namaste”.
“There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh