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You’ve undoubtedly heard your yoga instructor greet you with, “Namaste.” As you’re guided through the practice you’ll hear Sanskrit words mixed in amongst our shared English language. Years of practice may go by before you begin to pay attention to the Sanskrit words and wonder about their meaning. Naturally, new yogis are more focused on the getting into and out of the poses with proper alignment and less interested in the foreign terms being used in class. Then, one day when you’ve gotten in and out of Warrior II with ease and grace, a word you’ve heard tens of times before, like Namaste, suddenly becomes your focus and you wonder, for the first time about it’s meaning.

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Two Parts to Namaste

Namaste is broken down into two parts. Nama means ‘to bow’ and te means ‘to you.’ Usually Namaste is said while hands are in Anjali Mudra, otherwise known as Prayer Pose or Salutation Seal. The palms are pressed lightly together at heart center, thumbs resting on or above the chest near the heart, head bows. It’s a respectful way to salute another person.

When I say Namaste to students I use the gesture to silently communicate, “I see you and the light within you. I see me in you and I see that we are one.” It’s a way to connect with another person, bow with respect to all that they are and all that they have been though in this life. It’s a way to unite with each other, at the same level and recognize we are all one.

What sanskrit words are you hearing in class? Let me know in a comment below.