Why Do Yogis Say Namaste? (Definition, Meaning and Proper Use)


If you have ever taken a yoga class, you have possibly heard the instructor finish by bowing and saying “Namaste.” In India, this Sanskrit word and gesture is popular and understood. In the West, this divine salutation is usually made use of with out totally realizing and understanding its which means and correct usage. Yet in India, this is a popular greating made use of in everyday life. Knowledge, devotion, and respect are all important elements to empowering the which means behind a yogi’s preferred way to finish their yoga practice.

What does Namaste imply?

To comprehend the which means of Namaste, we need to have to break the word down into 3 components. In the initial portion, the root word Namah is translated as “bow,” “adoration,” or “respectful salutation.” The middle As translates to “I” and the ending Te indicates “to you.” Thus, the literal translation is “I humbly bow to you.” In yogic philosophy, it is believed that every person consists of a tiny spark of the divine oneness named Atman or Brahman. So in this yogic context, the correct which means of Namaste becomes “the divine spark in me bows to the divine in you.”

How to say Namaste

Namaste is pronounced “Nah-mah-stey,” and is commonly spoken with a slight bow and with hands pressed collectively in Anjali Mudra or prayer position. Your eyes can be open, gazing at the eyes of the other individual or your eyes can be closed. At the finish of a yoga class, the teacher will commonly finish with a Namaste. It is anticipated for the students to say Namaste back to the teacher and to all the other students. When saying Namaste to a person, really feel your heart complete of appreciate, kindness, gratitude, and respect towards them.

What is the namaste gesture?

The hand gesture linked with the bow of namaste is named Anjali Mudra. This gesture is made use of in yoga traditions as a sign of respect and as a basic greeting of peace. Bringing our hands collectively at the heart chakra increases the flow of divine appreciate, kindness and compassion. Bowing the heads and closing the eyes assists us surrender to the divine inside. When we do this, we show our gratitude for becoming alive and honoring the divine soul in every other.

Why say Namaste?

Saying Namaste is a sweet and humble way to show respect towards one more individual. It makes it possible for you to express kindness, purity of heart, and properly wishes for the other individual. Saying Namaste offers a strong chance to see and determine the excellent and virtue in other individuals. Namaste is also made use of as an affirmation of the unity, equality, and oneness amongst men and women in the yoga neighborhood and in other Asian spiritual practices.

Should you say Namaste?

Just like chanting Om, you may perhaps or may perhaps not really feel comfy bowing and saying Namaste at the finish of a yoga class. If you are not comfy saying Namaste, know that it is completely okay to be silent and just bow. You can alternatively whisper or say in your head a distinct word that has a equivalent which means to you.

There are a lot of motives why saying Namaste may perhaps not really feel proper to you:

  • You do not comprehend the which means and intent of the word.
  • It feels culturally insensitive or inappropriate to use.
  • It does not align with your religious beliefs.
  • You do not really feel proper speaking Sanskrit words.
  • You do not really feel you have adequate encounter in yoga to totally embody the essence of the word.

Not all teachers say Namaste

Some yoga instructors are uncomfortable ending their classes with Namaste. Instead, they say “thank you” or use one more equivalent word to signal the finish of the practice. Some teachers will also ring a bell, chime, or singing bowl. Bikram yoga teachers usually leave the space with out saying something. Kundalini yogis finish their practice by saying the Gurmukhi mantra Sat Nam, which translates to “I am truth” or “My essence is truth.” Kripalu yoga instructors will usually use Jai Bhagwan, which indicates “may the Divine in you be victorious.”

When asking a group of teachers or students what namaste indicates to them, we generally hear a wide array of concepts. Most consist of light, appreciate, the divine, or honor. Perhaps most popular is some thing like, “the divine in me bows to and honors the divine in you.” – Mark Stephens

What does saying Namaste imply to you?

We asked a number of yoga professionals and instructors what saying Namaste at the finish of their classes signified for them. They also integrated some stories on when they initial started employing Namaste and some suggestions and guidance for students who encounter this word for the initial time.

Yoga Teacher Anne Marie Herring recounts how her feelings went from cheesy to deep respect when employing Namaste in yoga class.

“When I initial began practicing yoga, saying Namaste felt a bit disingenuous and even cheesy. I’d hear the teacher’s explanation that her highest Self sees and honors my highest Self. I felt uncomfortable with the notion that a portion of her was speaking to a portion of me I didn’t even know about.

My feelings about employing the word Namaste shifted just after establishing a constant meditation practice. Observing my thoughts and feelings from a spot of nonjudgement revealed a far better way to engage with the globe inside and about me. Witnessing internal dialogue locations you in the function of awareness or observation. Non-judgemental awareness is inside all of us it is what we contact Higher Self. It is genuinely Higher, I assume, simply because this way of viewing the thoughts pulls us up from the day-to-day function of habits and believed processes. Now, when I hear and speak the word Namaste I assume of it as displaying respect and gratitude to consciousness, to pure awareness, which has driven life in this universe far just before and far beyond our existing existence.

I would encourage teachers to continue employing the word Namaste, even if, and possibly specifically if, they get funny appears from their students. Offering a word that taps on a student’s curiosity is a way to lead them additional into yoga, into searching for deeper which means and a higher understanding of their encounter.”

Kino MacGregor, international yoga teacher and host of the Yoga Inspiration podcast, believes you ought to only use the word Namaste with the utmost respect and devotion.

“Using the term Namaste to commence or finish a yoga class calls for respect for the spiritual origins of the term and its Hindu roots. Unfortunately, the word Namaste has created its way into the pop culture lexicon. It is usually made use of also casually, with out correct understanding of the word’s origins or the depth necessary to genuinely embody devotion.

If you use Namaste to finish or commence your yoga classes, it is advisable to do with the utmost respect for Indian culture. In some sense, Namaste has a rather formal, or at least spiritually critical, which means and origin that can often be lost in casual usage. If you genuinely imply to bow down in an act of worship to the eternal essence in one more becoming, then this pretty act could be deemed the highest type of yoga. But if you just adopt a term simply because it sounds cool or exotic and commodify it with out respecting the spiritual intention of it, then that could be problematic.

I start off and finish my classes with my hands resting in prayer position, thumbs towards the heart. This is a popular gesture of each greeting respect in India and Asia and is named Anjali Mudra. In Sanskrit, Anjali signifies a gesture of reverence, benediction, and worship. A Mudra is a seal or sign. The significance of the hand position is likened to a lotus bud, representing the pretty starting of an awakening in the heart of the spiritual practitioner.”

Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Life Coach Mary Kearns utilizes the word Namaste to recognize the light in every and each and every a single of us.

“I have constantly made use of Namaste to close out my yoga classes, and most of my students respond in type. The a single exception was the initial time I taught teachers in a public college and wasn’t certain about the culture, so I didn’t use it. But by the third class, after I got to know the teachers, I started to use it, and they all respond with Namaste. I say it from a deep belief in its which means, that we actually are all manifestations of the Divine.

I was raised as a Quaker (what I contact no-frills Christianity), and a single of the major ideals is recognizing the Light in your self and other individuals. In undertaking so, we really feel compassion and unity toward all of humanity. So, I constantly close out my classes by saying, ‘The Light and Love in me honors, respects, and sees the Light and Love in each and every one of you. Namaste.’ I do this to convey the notion that I see our shared humanity/Divinity, and to remind my students to see that in every other. Hopefully, they then take this out into the globe and give other individuals a bit more slack.

For new students, I would encourage them to study up on the word to find out the subtleties of its which means. And, to comprehend that it is not religious or dogmatic. I see it as a good, compact way of saying some thing that a lot of wisdom traditions say, type of like saying Aloha.”

Leslie Kiel is a writer for QuickQuote and is an RYT 200 teacher who explains how the which means of Namaste changed through her yoga teacher education course.

“When I initial started practicing yoga, I was mainly browsing for a way to keep motivated with exercising. Saying Namaste and bowing at the finish of my class felt obligatory. I did it simply because everybody else did, and it held zero which means for me. Years later, as I went by means of teacher education, found the which means, and deemed what it meant for my individual practice, my thoughts changed.

I realized sharing this word collectively at the finish of a class can be a way for me to acknowledge we are all in this collectively, not just with yoga, but with life, also. Just simply because every individual may perhaps be at a distinct spot in their personal journey does not imply a single person’s practice is any more worthwhile than a person else’s. Namaste encompasses all that for me.

When I started teaching, I wanted to attempt and make a space exactly where no a single and absolutely nothing felt forced. I decided I’d finish every class with a basic expression of gratitude, followed by the word that represents so a great deal tradition, acceptance, and appreciate: Thank you for sharing your practice with me. Namaste.”

Chair yoga teacher Rachel Baer utilizes Namaste to connect students to some thing higher than themselves.

“I am conscious that there have been a couple of damaging thoughts about employing Namaste lately. However, I like to use it as for my students and me as it feels like the word connects us to some thing larger, some thing more than just ourselves and our personal small worlds that we live in.

I usually remind them in class that we are all connected to every other we all have the very same/equivalent desires, wants, and desires in life.  We all have hope and dreams we are all connected to these across the space, across the state, nation, and wider. I clarify this by the image of dropping a stone into a lake and seeing the ripple reaching out finding larger and larger, I usually clarify that this is the very same as our attitudes and how we interact with every other, we can spread and ripple out kindness and empathy or the opposite. When we take that awareness away with us just after class it can make a large distinction even if we are irritated at the check out line or stuck in targeted traffic, our responses to ourselves and these about us can actually make a distinction each to our personal properly becoming and that of these about us.”

Rosie Araujo of Mint Body Studio describes how saying Namaste creates a protected space for her yoga students to let go and encounter a sense of oneness.

“It wasn’t till I started teaching classes that the definition of Namaste bloomed inside me. Namaste at the finish of the class became the solidification of how I was in a position to touch people’s lives and souls. It’s the ending of an encounter I make for men and women each and every week in each and every class that makes it possible for them a protected space to let go. And at the very same time, it is the starting of a new moment of clarity that showers you the second just after you say Namaste and open your eyes. I can give it a lot of meanings, such as unity, understanding, appreciate, and acceptance.

I would say, nonetheless, the which means that stands out the most for me and what I’m genuinely feeling as I repeat this word along with everybody is, ‘we are one.’ We are all experiencing this point named life collectively. It’s my way of saying that we’ve created it this far, and we are properly on our way. For these that have by no means heard the word or have by no means spoken it, you do not have to. All you get to do is permit your self to really feel it. It speaks with out speaking. I do not see it as either proper or inappropriate. It is genuinely what you make of it and what you let your self connect to by means of employing it.”

Bestselling author Mark Stephens describes which “you” a single bows to in the spirit of Namaste.

“Most yoga students are familiar with Sun Salutations, otherwise recognized as Surya Namaskar. Here a single is bowing to the sun. But it is not merely the sun that we know as portion of the cosmos. In Indian cosmology, the complete universe is discovered writ-modest inside the human becoming with certain representations. The sun, discovered in the heart, is deemed the ultimate supply of truth and wisdom, though the moon–the light of which is the distorted reflection of sunlight–is discovered in the fairly intelligent (and usually confused) gray matter of the brain.

Thus, in bowing with the spirit of namaste, a single is bowing to the deeper truth and wisdom that resides in their heart. And just as in Surya Namaskar, exactly where some recommend we’re bowing to Lord Surya (the Sun god) in in search of to appease him and therefore manifest the light of day, in bowing to a person else with the spirit of namaste they are bowing to the truth and wisdom in the heart of one more.”

What does saying Namaste imply to you? We’d appreciate to hear your thoughts on employing or not employing this sacred word in the comments beneath!





Originally published in www.yogabasics.com