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What Does "Namaste" Mean?

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

If you have ever attended a yoga class, you have probably heard the term "namaste". Usually, this word is said at the end of class, with the hands in a prayer position over the heart, in the gesture of Anjali Mudra, with a slight bow.

From the original Sanskrit, "namah" or "namas" means bow, and "te" is translated as you. Simply stated, the term means "I bow to you". This traditional Indian greeting has been adopted by western yoga teachers as an acknowledgment of community or gratitude after a class. To me, namaste also brings a sense of completion and allows me a moment of reflection. It can be a short pause before my day continues outside of the studio, bringing a sense of togetherness and reflection of shared experience with my class members.

However, there is a deeper meaning to this word, bringing the sense that we are more the same than we are different. We are made of the same insecurities and emotions, and we share the human experience.

One of the most common translations of namaste is "The divine light in me bows to the divine light in you." At the end of a recent class, the yoga teacher ended with the words, "All that is good and true in me, honors the truth and the goodness within you." What a beautiful sentiment!

Find a meaning that resonates in your heart and in your spirit, bringing this intention to the forefront each time you bring your hands into prayer near your heart or your brow, and carry the beauty of this simple salutation throughout the day.

What does namaste mean to you?



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