What does Namaste mean?

I’m sure you have joined in with the ritual of saying Namaste, bringing your hands together at the heart and bowing at the end of yoga class. But you  have no doubt wondered why Namaste is said by teacher and students and what it actually means.

“I bow to you.”

Namaste is a greeting, used in Hindu tradition, other religions and wider Indian cultures and now spreading further afield.  It has many variations in translation.  In Sanskrit, the language traditionally used in yoga, the word ‘namah’ means bow, ‘as’ means I, and ‘te’ means you, translating into “I bow to you.”

Other common translations include:

  • The Divine light in me acknowledges the Divine light in you.
  • I honour the spirit/soul/goodness  in you that is also in me.

Anjali Mudra

Bringing your hands together at the heart, pressing the palms together evenly with the fingers pointing up is called the Anjali Mudra. A Mudra is a gesture, often of the hands or fingers.  In Sanskrit Anjali means “divine offering”, “a gesture of reverence”,  “salutation”, and is derived from http://sandsfoot.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron=1511248096.1590709686279296875000 anj, meaning “to honour or celebrate”. Mudra means “seal” or “sign”.  Bringing the hands from the heart up to the forehead is a version used in North and South India.

Salutation Seal

Whilst in the West Anjali Mudra appears as a traditional prayer position, in yoga it is about much more.  It brings left and right side of the body together in balance, it centres, it brings you back to your inner self, to your heart.

So the next time that you say Namaste and perform Anjali Mudra you can do so with confidence as you honour yourself, your teacher and your fellow students in a gesture of respect, gratitude and peace.

Other useful articles you might be interested in:

The Meaning of Namaste

Anjali Mudra for Beginners


Image Johnathan Clover www.cloverleafimages.com

  • Sarah is the owner of Breathing Space Yoga.  She teaches Baby Yoga to local babies and their parents, postnatal yoga classes, pregnancy and adult yoga classes. Her blog is a mixture of information on Baby Yoga, Pre and Postnatal Yoga and Yoga in general, recommendations for parents and students from personal experiences and inspiring bits and bobs she finds along the way.
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