Ahhh Namaste. A word that seems to appear a lot lately. It sounds nice. It feels nice to say (and secretly it makes me feel super cool when I say it in unison with my yoga teacher at the end of class). Despite saying it more times that I can count now, I have to admit that until recently I didn’t really know the origin of the word, let alone the true authentic meaning…
So what did I do to appease my curiosity? Ask my yoga teacher at Stretch. I figure she must have a sweet and simple way of explaining it. And of course she did.
The sweet freckled and soothing toned Emma explained it like this, “Namaste means ‘the light in me honours the light in you’. Kind of a way of acknowledging someone’s presence.” She really does have this classic soft voice that makes everyone in the room breathe a little easier… damn magic I say.
I liked the sound of that too, ‘the light in me’.
So the next thing I did was Google it, because it’s 2016 and I had to fact check. Hold your applause. I know, expert researcher here going above and beyond for this blog post.
Three whole seconds of effort later, here is what I found:
Simple translation: I bow to the divine light within you and you bow to the divine light within me.
Namah = bow
Te = to you
Namaste = I bow to you
I guess that’s why it’s usually accompanied with an actual physical bow.
‘I bow to you’. This got me even more curious and I decided to continue my research (if you could call it that). After scrolling through a few blog posts, and of course the trusty Wikipedia, I kind of got the idea that the word Namaste is a gesture of respect that can be used globally between people of all age, race and gender. Totally encompassing the belief that ‘we are one’.
Don’t you just love that?
So to wrap this up, I now know the translation of ‘I bow to you’ is about honouring ourselves and those around us. Honouring their light, their soul, that part of them that is exactly the same as me. The thing that makes our shared human experience happen! So I guess I can still love the pop culture references and my favourite mug, but now with the understanding that this simple word isn’t so simple after all. Rather, it’s quite rich with history, culture and many religious practices. Namaste!