“Namaste” in yoga practice is not just a cultural formality but an opportunity to connect with the deeper essence of yoga.
In the serene ambiance of the yoga studio, a sense of tranquility settles over the room as the final moments of the class unfold, and the teacher’s hands pressed together in the Anjali Mudra, a prayer-like gesture. With a graceful inclination of the upper body, the teacher leans forward in a deep bow and reverently intones the word “Namaste” a symbolic gesture of humility and gratitude. In response, the yoga students mirror the gesture, bringing their own hands together in the prayer position, Whispering “namaste” escaping their lips.
But recently, there has been a growing awareness and discussion within the yoga community about the use of the word “namaste.” how, when, and why yogis use the word “namaste.”
What is the meaning of Namaste in Yoga?
The explanation of the literal translation of “namaste” is quite accurate and aligns with the common understanding of the term. In this breakdown:
Nama: This is often translated as “bow” or “obeisance.”
As: This is typically translated as “I” or “me.”
Te: This is commonly translated as “you.”
Therefore, when taken these words together, “namaste” can be interpreted to mean “I bow to you” or “I bow to the divine within you.”
How to say Namaste
“Namaste” is pronounced as “Nah-mah-stey,” with an emphasis on the second syllable, “mah.” The “e” at the end is often pronounced softly, almost blending into the “y” sound, contributing to the flowing and gentle nature of the word.
At the end of a yoga class, the teacher will usually end with a Namaste. It is expected for the students to say Namaste back to the teacher and to all the other students. When saying Namaste to someone, feel your heart full of love, kindness, gratitude, and respect toward them.
The gesture used with “namaste” is known as Anjali Mudra. This hand gesture involves bringing the palms of the hands together at the heart center, with the fingers pointing upwards. The pronunciation is “UHN-jah-lee MOO-dra.”
Let’s break down the Anjali Mudra
“Anjali” derives from the Sanskrit word “anj,” which means to honor, celebrate, or offer. In the context of Anjali Mudra, it represents an offering of respect, gratitude, and reverence.
The term “mudra” refers to a symbolic or ritual gesture, often performed with the hands or fingers. In yoga and meditation, mudras are used to channel energy, deepen concentration, and enhance the spiritual experience.
“Hasta” means hand, so “hasta mudras” refer to sacred hand gestures.
To perform the Anjali Mudra — Start by pressing the palms of your hands together, with your fingers touching and pointing upwards. The thumbs are positioned at the breastbone, near the center of your chest.
Incorporating “namaste” into your yoga practice can deepen your connection to the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga, reminding you of the humanity and interconnectedness that the practice seeks to cultivate.
Nov 29, 2023
How to do Bakasana (Crow/Crane Pose ) And Its Benefits?
"Bakasana" is just another name of Crane or Crow Pose, also known as Kakasna. Basically, work on arm and wrist[...]
Nov 22, 2023
5 Yoga Poses for Ajna Chakra Balance and Spiritual Alignment
The concept of seven chakras is rooted in ancient Indian spiritual traditions, particularly within the practice of yoga and Ayurveda.[...]
Nov 02, 2023
7 Yoga Poses For Women Looking To Get A Leaner Body
Yoga is a wonderful practice for women (and men) that can help them achieve a toned and leaner body when[...]