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The real true meaning of "namaste"

Just like a handshake in the West, Namaste, is away to greet and farewell one another in India and parts of southeast Asia. This greeting is done by pressing both hands together and holding them near the heart with the head gently bowed and saying, "Namaste." Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."

The Namaste gesture represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The purpose of the Namaste gesture to acknowledge the soul in one by the soul in another. 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.

For a yoga teacher and a yoga 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.

Ideally, Namaste should be done both at the beginning and at the end of yoga class. Usually, it is done at the end of yoga 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 yoga students and her own yoga teachers and in return invites the yoga 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.

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