Thanks to the ever increasing popularity of yoga, the word namasté has become firmly embedded in our language. The word has its roots in ancient Sanskrit and continues to be used today in India as a traditional Hindu greeting or farewell that means “the divine in me honours the divine in you’’. Essentially, namasté is the essence of oneness and an understanding of the true nature of reality; it represents the idea that we are all one and supports the notion that beneath the physical body that makes us appear different from from one another, each and every one of us are created from the same source.
If you’ve ever followed a yoga class or participated in any form of meditation, then you will have come across or said ‘namasté’ at some point. The teacher will typically end the class by bowing their head (symbolic of your mind’s submission to the divinity of the heart) with hands in prayer position in front of their heart saying ‘namasté’. The students then mirror the teacher and say ‘namasté’ in return. When I first started practising yoga, I repeated this by rote; now when I utter this word I feel I am truly connecting to the higher, divine essence of this greeting.
For me namasté is more than a word; it’s an approach to living, a way of life. It means honouring my body, being aware of my words, and recognising the impact I have on those in front of me. It means I aim to be the light while I am on my journey on this physical plane. Namasté is also a way of showing respect; respect for yourself, for others, for the natural environment and the planet as a whole. It’s a way of connecting with everything outside of ourselves. To me, namasté means that I see you. I understand we are all souls trying to find and make our way in this world and while the colour of our lights may shine differently, we all share the same internal source and my soul bows to and acknowledges that in your soul. The use of this word in the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness allows me to elevate myself above my own ego, opening me up to compassion and empathy to others in every aspect of life. Namasté brings to mind these powerful words written by Rumi in the 13th Century:
‘’The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you.’’
There is a divine place in each one of us where love, truth, light and peace reside. Living a namasté life means living with and showing compassion, care and respect, every single day. If we always try to interact with others with an attitude of honour and appreciation, we will automatically treat them with kindness and respect by acknowledging others’ feelings, wishes and/or rights. It’s about recognising, being aware and accepting that while we might be at odds with each other, we should always be respectful and compassionate.
By saying namasté (and meaning it) it is a constant reminder to see others for what you and they actually are. You affirm your choice to identify with God-consciousness rather than the ego consciousness which has you believe that you are somehow superior or inferior to others on this planet. It is an active choice to take the spiritual lessons derived from the practice of yoga and meditation into your everyday life and in so doing, rewarding you with a more soulful way of living; a way which embodies the principles of compassion, respect, love and oneness.
The light within me bows to and honours the light within you; and in this place, we are the same.