One of the most popular questions Ive been asked over the past 3 months in my yoga for golfers classes has been "what does Namaste mean?". I find this truly amazing. It is fascinating for me not least as a yoga teacher but as a student of psychology and human behaviour to see how people react to this gesture that they know very little about. The connection to it is profound and you can see this instantly. People are drawn to the honesty and safety of the sentiment albeit unconscious. It is something you feel; you sense the truth, the light, the peace and the love because when you strip back the ego these are the only things that matter and that make us one. Namaste is truly something to be cherished. So here is the quick-ish A-Z....
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
There are many interpretations Namaste:
The Divine in me recognizes and honors, the Divine in you.
The spirit within me bows to the spirit within you.
I greet that place where you and I are one.
I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.
No matter which interpretation you choose, you should think of it as a divine blessing that honors sacredness and equality in everyone.
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart, 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.
For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.
Usually, Namaste is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.