The Meaning Of Namaste

We bow and say it all the time at the end of yoga class: Namaste. But what does the Nepalese word really mean? Author Rita Geno and Yoga Teacher Aadil Palkhivala explore the true meaning of the expression and offers a beginner’s guide to chakras.

David Martinez, courtesy, Yoga Journal

Definition of Namaste

Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”

How to make the Namaste gesture

To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart chakra, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word “namaste” is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.

We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.

Watch 5-minute-chakra-balancing-flow here:

Read more on chakras here.


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Emily Brendler Shoff

Emily Brendler Shoff found true love when she moved to the Rockies for her freshman year at Colorado College in 1994. Her love affair with the mountains hasn’t wavered since. She writes, teaches, and makes cookies for her favorite people in Telluride, Colorado.

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