The Habitat
Home
Share to PinterestPeace and Gratitude: The True Meaning of Namaste
Share to PinterestPeace and Gratitude: The True Meaning of Namaste
Advertisement

If you've been to a yoga class, then you've probably heard the yoga teacher say "namaste" at the end of the class. However, the Sanskrit word is used in a variety of contexts outside of the yoga studio, from being a common Hindu greeting to having a more profound, more spiritual inference. While many of us don't include "namaste" in our everyday vocabulary, it's important to understand its origins and true meaning.

01

The literal translation of "namaste"

Share to Pinterestnamaste yoga
PeopleImages / Getty Images

Namaste is a Sanskrit word that means "I bow to you." In Hinduism, it also has a spiritual meaning that reflects the belief that the divine and self are the same all of us. In this context, namaste means "the divine in me bows to the divine in you." Namaste can be something you say and do as a genuine form of expressing your gratitude and appreciation for health, wellbeing, and other people in your life.

Advertisement
02

Namaste as a respectful hello

Share to PinterestTemple Visitor and Hindu Priest Greeting Each Other
GCShutter / Getty Images

Namaste is a trusted traditional greeting that can be used to say hello to another person, whether it be in yoga, meditation, or another peaceful setting. The word carries a strong element of respect and can be used more generally to greet someone in both public and private settings. The first part of the word, nama, translates to "bow," which explains why the gesture involves bowing forward with the hands clasped together near the heart in prayer position. Facing someone directly during namaste demonstrates respect, thankfulness, and recognition.

Advertisement
03

Saying "namaste" requires respect and positive energy

Share to Pinterest
fizkes / Getty Images

When someone places their hands together in front of their chest and bows to say "namaste," the gesture is seen as a form of respectful regard, similar to a prayer. Namaste is a genuine greeting, and it's important to embrace these emotions and think positive things before you say namaste to your yoga teacher, colleague, friend, or family member.

Advertisement
04

The gratitude element of namaste

Share to PinterestTraditional Indian way of saying thank you Namaste

Namaste is all about giving thanks and acknowledging the time and effort someone has put in for you. Yoga teachers use namaste to thank their students for allowing them to teach the class and guide them through the yoga journey, while participants reciprocate the sentiment. It's ideal to be as relaxed and peaceful as you can before saying namaste to ensure the greeting is genuine and used appropriately.

Advertisement
05

Namaste creates blissful energy

Share to Pinterestnamaste
simarik / Getty Images

Namaste involves the sharing of positive energy between people. Its spiritual meaning creates vibrations of blissful energy to the recipient, passed on through the purported connection between chakras and heart centers. Yoga practice is supposed to connect people with their subconscious, leading to greater awareness of their mind, body, and soul, which makes it the perfect time to say namaste and express thanks for the presence of others.

Advertisement
06

Namaskar vs. namaste

Share to Pinterestlose up Indian woman hand doing Namaste

Namaste also translates to "salutation to you," which makes sense given its status as a graceful greeting. It's similar to the greeting "namaskar," which translates to "I pay my salutations." Some people prefer one term over the other, but many agree that namaskar is most appropriate for greeting several people, such as an entire class or audience. Meanwhile, namaste is a more personalized divine greeting for individual interactions.

Advertisement
07

The use of namaste in yoga

Share to Pinterestnamaste with yoga
PeopleImages / Getty Images

Many people feel a bit nervous when they first start yoga class, as they worry they won't be able to keep up or maintain proper form. Namaste is meant to eliminate those doubts by showing that everyone is equal in their efforts. Namaste is a reminder of what is most important in yoga, which is trying your best and being proud of your body, even if it isn't perfect. Yoga teachers use namaste to finish the class on a high note and keep students feeling encouraged and motivated to continue with their yoga and meditation.

Advertisement
08

Namaste can also be an apology

Share to Pinterestnamaste for forgiveness and peace
Jasmina007 / Getty Images

Namaste is also used as a form of apologizing, especially in Hindu culture. People may say namaste if they want to seek forgiveness, and the recipient can acknowledge and accept the apology by saying namaste in return. It's important to keep the eyes closed and the hands empty during the gesture so that it is well-received and the transfer of positive energy is uninterrupted.

Advertisement
09

Creating a spiritual connection through namaste

Share to Pinterestnamaste after yoga
PeopleImages / Getty Images

Another aspect of namaste is maintaining a physical distance. You don't want to physically touch them, as this space between each other generates a stronger positive aura and minimizes the likelihood of passing on negative energy. Think of namaste as a spiritual connection surrounding you and the other person. As long as you're using namaste for a positive purpose, it will be an effective form of spiritual communication.

Advertisement
10

Namaste is a soft, graceful gesture

Share to Pinterestgraceful namaste on the beach
Portra / Getty Images

Many yoga classes teach gracefulness and gentleness, which goes hand in hand with namaste. When you join your hands together, do so softly and gracefully. A light graze of your fingertips allows you to focus on the feeling and the positive energy. This way, you can honor your yoga teacher or friend with a significant spiritual transfer. If you feel graced by someone's presence, then you should say namaste to them in a peaceful setting.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Share

Ad

Make a habit out of it.

Get daily tips and tricks for living your best life.

Advertisement
Advertisement