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Namaste. We all know that it’s what we say when we finish our yoga practice, but what does it actually mean? Are we thanking the yoga lords for helping us through our practice? Are we simply stating that the class is over, The End? I remember getting a fright during my first yoga experience when the class repeated unquestioningly after the instructor the word ‘Namaste’. I wondered not only how everyone knew what to say and when, but also what the word itself meant. As I am sure many of us have done, I neglected to look it up and just sort of guessed what it meant. It turns out that the gesture of ‘Namaste’ represents that there is a Divine Spark within each of us at the heart chakra.
Breaking down the word itself from Sanskrit, we discover that Nama means bow, as means I and te means you, therefore it is literally I bow to you. In India, it is unnecessary to even speak the word Namaste, as the bow itself represents the gesture as a whole. To this simple motion, there is much more than meets the eye.  Namaste could be just a casual form of greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. When we greet each other using Namaste we are acknowledging a meeting of the minds, as well as extending love, respect and humility. Strange to think that whereas the word ‘Hello’ is thrown around here so often without a second thought, Namaste has multiple levels of meaning.
Bringing the hands together at the heart chakra during the gesture is said to increase the flow of Divine Love. By bowing the head and closing the eyes, we help the mind to surrender to the Divine in the heart. On top of this, Namaste is also a gesture of connection. Performing the gesture to oneself helps one to connect deeply with the heart chakra, while performing the gesture with another can be a quick form of meditation. A teacher, student connection can also be grasped through Namaste, as at the end of the class the act recognizes a lineage between the two.
The reason we say Namaste at the end of the class is also important. The mind is much less active at the conclusion of a class, as we have been focusing on our breath and the world inside the four corners of our mat. The energy in the room is peaceful with an inward focus and therefore we are able to be truly grateful and honour that ‘we are all one when we live from the heart’.
For more information on the Namaste gesture see The Yoga Journal:
Post by Louisa Macleod – Kula Yoga Studio Assistant.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio in Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic vinyasa ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing. Kula Yoga offers staff a unique yoga experience to strengthen their minds and bodies. Find out more about our beneficial group yoga programs on our website www.kulayoga.com.au.