Namaste. Num-us-tey? Na-muh-stay [in bed]! Excuse me, but what? This simple Sanskrit
word is notorious within the yoga community, most often heard when sealing the end of a
practice, and yet many still remain in the shadows about truly understanding its meaning. To
help better explain this I offer you a quote:
“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside of you.”
By Purvi Patel
These words from the legendary mystic and theologian, Rumi,
truly embrace what our yoga teaches us. Every single one of
us is comprised of the effervescent light and the magnificent
qualities of the universe. What it also says to us is that we are
of one and the same, connected to all that is around us at any
given time. THIS is where Namaste comes in.
It is a three-syllable word, used in the Indian communities as
a greeting and farewell, and in our practice of yoga it is most
often offered up at the end of practice whether it be asana,
pranayama, or meditation. The history of yoga is deeply rooted
in the Indian culture and has spread to many different places
around the world. In this process it has intertwined with it this
powerful and ancient language. Namah– meaning “bow” or
“adoration” and te- “to you” it can be literally broken down to
“adoringly bow to you”. It is about being respectful and mindful in recognizing those around us. It is appreciating that all
beings be valued and respected.
So, what do you when you finish on your mat and your teacher
says “namaste?” First things first, there are no rules. Not every instructor will do this, and you are not required to respond
aloud, silently inward or do anything at all. It does create an
intentional moment allowing us to remember why we come to
INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I
our yoga and what it truly means to connect to our light. It
celebrates the qualities of you that are both unique and yet very
much the same as your neighbor, their neighbor and another
person half way around the world.
One of the most basic breakdowns is “the light in me honors
the light in you,” acknowledging that you and I are of the same
light. It helps us embrace what is common and focus less about
what is different. It is respectful: there is no better than or less
than. Even if we consider that we are different, that everyone is
different, there remains one common theme— we are all different so even then we remain the same.
Taking into account Rumi’s quote, an open interpretation of this
brilliant Sanskrit word and a chance to salute you once more:
I honor the place in you in which the entire universe resides.
I honor the place in you, which is of peace, love, light and
grace. When you are in this place in you and I am in this
place in me, we are ONE.