Namaste – A Sacred Gesture of Honor

 

Before you roll up your mat and slip on your shoes to leave the yoga studio, you’ve probably noticed the pause at the end of class when the teacher unites the students to say, “Namaste.”

Perhaps you are a seasoned yogi attuned to this word’s true meaning or a beginner that unwittingly mumbles it just to be polite. This ancient Sanskrit term that transcends all cultures and religions is actually a beautiful, instant meditation that allows individuals to come together energetically to a place of timelessness and connection.

Literally, Namaste translates as “I bow to you.” More figuratively, Namaste means “the divine light in me, respects the divine light in you.” The term is an offering of peace and a sign of respect to one another.

The word Namaste is pronounced with the gesture of bringing the hands together at the heart to increase the flow of divine love. By simultaneously bowing the head and closing the eyes, the mind can surrender to the divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart or to honor another.

If Namaste is done with clarity and intention, a deep union of spirits can blossom. Typically in Western yoga studios, Namaste is said in unison with the entire class bowing in one motion. Once the class finishes the gesture the class adjourns.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, many studios take this sacred gesture a step further. After the group unites to say Namaste, the students and teacher then take the time to Namaste the entire room – person by person. It is an inspiration that the local yoga community has the vibrancy and wisdom to take the time to bless and thank one another at the end of class.

By seeing the beauty and individuality in people, we can honor the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.

Namaste to you. And you. And you.

Jamie Brown works for lululemon athletica, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company located on East Boulevard. She takes several yoga classes a week throughout the Charlotte area.

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