It’s pretty rare these days that you’d go to a yoga class and make it out of the door without the teacher saying Namaste. We’ve definitely taken the traditional Indian greeting under our English yoga wings a lot more readily than other ways of closing class, like group Om-ing or chanting. It is still pretty rare, however, for teachers to expand on what they actually mean when they say it.
I’m (really) often guilty of this myself.
It’s mostly because I hope that those moments of peace and connection at the end of class speak for themselves. Or that when I try to make eye contact with everyone as we press our hands together that the feeling that we’re really trying to ‘see‘ each other for who we really are is implicit.
And it’s a little bit because I don’t want to bore the regulars.
When there are a lot of new students or I think a reminder would be useful, I usually go with a shortened stock translation of Namaste, like…
‘The light in me recognises the light in you.’
‘The divine in me bows to the divine in you.’
I might say that – as with many words in foreign languages – it’s hard to hit an exact translation, but the general idea of this traditional Indian greeting is that it’s a way of saying ‘hi there’ or ‘bye now’ whilst simultaneously showing deep understanding that we’re all the same; little pieces of a great, thrumming consciousness that come together to make up the whole of existence.
Then I heard the renowned yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Das offer the following explanation in his book ‘Be Love Now.’
In India when people meet and part they say Namaste, which means I honour the place in you where the entire Universe resides. I honour the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honour the place in you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me there is only one of us.
And it seemed so perfect I had to share.
In love, S xo