Namaste is a word from the Hindi language. It’s meaning is derived from ‘Nama’ – meaning to bow; ‘as’ – meaning I; and, ‘te’ means you. Thus, Namaste being ‘I bow to you.’
Meaning of Namaste in the Yoga Practice
Namaste is used to acknowledge and honor the soul that is within you and the person sitting next to you. The gesture of Namaste in Yoga identifies that each of us has a divine spark that is unique and that should equally be respected.
Saying Namaste is an expression that the soul respects and honors the other soul. It is a gesture to honor the light, love, truth, beauty, and peace within us. In a group yoga session, the Namaste gesture means that we are united and same. We act as a whole; we act as one.
Hand Gesture for performing the Namaste position
We join both palms together and place our hands at the center of our hearts – which signifies our soul. We close our eyes and bow our heads down with respect to the person in front of us. The reason for such gesture is because that the heart chakra is where all the divine flows through. It also increases this flow and in a similar way, vibrations of love and peace are passed on to the person we bow down to.
In the West, this gesture is always accompanied by saying the word Namaste. In India, however, this gesture itself is so commonly used, that it automatically signifies that the person is expressing his Namaste, saying the word is not required. It is always significant that the gesture is accompanied by saying the word to avoid any confusion and increase the gap of communication.
When performing the Namaste gesture to someone, it brings unity and connection through the flow of positive energy. Similarly, it releases grudges and any boundaries of ego. Focus on completely surrendering the mind and the heart as this results in a deep flow of gratitude where two souls unite and blossom.
When to include the Namaste gesture in your Yoga practice?
Namaste should be initiated at the beginning and at the end of the yoga class.
In the beginning, it is used to express gratitude to yourself and to others – gratitude that each of you is present on that day. It also initiates the flow of positive energy during the remainder of the practice.
Towards the end, it is again included to express honor and respect among each other’s souls. It acknowledges that with complete surrender, we are united and one. With this thought, the practice comes to an end filling our hearts and mind with joy, peace, and love for ourselves and for each other.