Have you ever wondered what namaste means when you hear it at the end of the yoga class? This word is obviously not an English word, but it is commonly used by many English speakers. Let’s see what it means and how to use namaste outside the yoga class.
What’s the Origin of Namaste?
Namaste originally derives from Sanskrit. It is a combination of two words which are “namah” and “aste”. Namas means “I bow respectfully”, and aste means “to you”. It is a word to show respect which, later on, became a commonly used word in India. The latter is now generally used for greetings in India. Moreover, it can also be used on many occasions like businesses, meetings, or academies, to show respect to someone.
According to the scriptures, there are other similar words used for greetings such as namaskaara, namaskar, and namaskaram. That said, they were once misunderstood as prostration.
How Did Americans Find This Word?
While reading about the newly independent India during the mid-20th century, Americans found the word “Namaste” for the first time in many contexts. Later on, they started using this word but with the following pronunciation: na-mas,tay. From there, it slowly became the word we use nowadays which is namaste.
The Meaning of Namaste
Namaste in India usually means salutation. However, it also has spiritual meanings that people use to show a spiritual connection. As this word is used by many people, it can be translated into many meanings. For example:
- I honor the love, light, and peace which is in you.
- We are one, we are the same.
- My soul recognizes yours.
- We are one when you and I bow to our true nature.
- I honor the entire universe that dwells in you.
Namaste can also be translated as a spiritual power to let go of your ego. In other words, it can be interpreted as being humble.
How to Make Namaste Gesture
The most common gesture that people use when saying this word is bowing. To do so, put your palms together at your heart Chakra or your chest. Relax your hands and feel the connection of both hands at the center. Then bow your head a little. This is used when greeting, meditating, or doing yoga.
Your eyes can be either opened or closed. It totally depends on you. Do whichever make you feel more comfortable. You can connect your soul and your body by closing your eyes while saying the magic word, or you can connect your soul with people around you. Either way, namaste always comes with gratitude, love, and kindness.
Why Do People Say This Word while Practicing Yoga?
For yoga practice, the yogi says this word to express a deep spiritual salutation. As in Indian culture, they say this word when you meet each other. For yoga, you say it at the end of the session to pay respect to the connection with yourself and others in the room.
If you have a yoga instructor, the teacher and students will say this word as they thank each other for the peaceful time they have spent together. The teacher says it first, then the students respond back.
However, teachers do not only say Namaste at the end of the yoga session. Some might say “Thank you”, or say similar things to close the practice. Some instructors might just ring a bell, use a singing bowl, or say nothing at all.
How to Say Namaste Properly and Respectfully?
To prevent the cheesy feeling, it takes time until you get the gist of it. Furthermore, you need to stay peaceful and calm whenever you say it. To do so, you’ll need to focus on your body awareness. Try to be in your presence and feel all the surrounding things.
Most importantly, you need to be thankful for all the hard work and achievement you have done so far before using namaste. And then, whenever you feel ready, say the word!
Can I Use Namaste in My Daily Life?
Yes, you can. Of course, it’s mostly used in the yoga field, but you can say this word to other people to show your gratitude and love. It is a good way to end a conversation or perhaps, another kind of practice. Why should only yogis have the right to use this beautiful word?
As an additional note, Namaste is a reminder of light, peace, and a good state of mind. You can wear “namaste” jewelry as a reminder to always keep a positive mindset. Finally, you can also write namaste anywhere in your house (like on a wall, for example) in order to give yourself calm and peace.
In short, this word is a powerful saying that can be used at the end of yoga practice and in your daily life. Is it not magical that one word can bring so much positivity in one’s life? Namaste.