Namaste is a Sanskrit word meaning “I humbly bow to you / I bow to you”, but in daily life, there are many interpretations of the word, they are listed below, some of which you might feel familiar with.
I see you
I bow to you*
I honor you
I respect you
We are one
We are equal
My spirit bows to your spirit
The divine in me honors the divine in you
The gesture of folding hands during a namaste is called the Añjali Mudrā, goes something like this:
- You put your hands together in praying position
- With palms touching
- With your thumbs close to your heart
- From above, you lower your hands to heart center
The use of namaste
As the number of people who practice yoga has risen significantly in modern life, the use of namaste has seen a rise in popularity as well. Many yoga teacher say the word at the end of yoga session as a way to thank their students for coming, and some people carry water bottle with “namaste” print or wear yoga wear such as t-shirt with the slogan.
As long as you get the common meaning of namaste and respect the roots behind this word, it is perfectly ok to use namaste where appropriate. After all, namaste is a beautiful word, I would love to use namaste in yoga class or as a general greetings among yoga friends.
While namaste is a popular expression that many yogis use frequently, you should not feel obligated to use it if doing so makes you uncomfortable as well as when you do not get the meaning of the word.