Namasté: the special Yoga greeting

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice original from India and has a very ancient tradition. “Yoga” is a Sanskrit word and means unity. Unity between body and mind, between consciousness and God, between the visible and the invisible, his philosophy is so profound.

In his book “Light on Yoga” BKS Iyengar, one of the best teachers who has this sublime practice, explains “The journey of yoga guides us from our periphery, the body, to the center of our being, the soul” and ” My life’s work has been to show how, even from humble beginnings, this is a path that can lead the dedicated practitioner to the integration of body, mind, and soul.


Among the different sacred universes, there is a gesture that stands out above all because of its massive use in the East and currently on the rise also in the West: it is the mudra that accompanies the word Namaste.

This particular way of greeting by joining the palms of the hands at the height of the heart is a bow that is used daily in India and Nepal to greet the other in their deepest and most invisible aspect: greeting the divinity hidden in matter.

Throughout time on the planet, humanity has created gestures with a universal character almost intuitively. These gestures communicated even before developing speech. Non-verbal communication is the simplest and most natural.

As a species we know a lot about what is done with our hands and that has a deep meaning that goes beyond words and that in general when we want to describe them we need a long list of phrases.

These movements with hands and fingers express everything: a pact, an agreement, love and passion to vendettas, anger or forms of protest.

But what happens when what you want to express speaks of the invisible. When the drawings that the fingers make in the air do not express what one person has to communicate to another, but rather express a deep desire to communicate with their own interior, that is where the Mudras are born, that is the name that the usual sacred gestures receive in the practice of Yoga, a discipline that has been practiced for almost 5000 years.

The concept within the Mudra is that one of the parts that communicates is the spirit, it is the very God, internal or external, connecting with the person through the contact of the fingertips, the palms of the hands.

These movements created by the different union positions between the fingers of the hands are intensely used in millenary spiritual practices, to activate energies or purposes of the soul.

Usually in many parts of the world and within the religious and prayer framework there is this gesture of joining the two palms at the height of the chest that has naturally been used as a sign of communion. It is in that meeting of the two palms where the divine and intangible meets the tangible earthly.

A sacred union that represents all the possible types of communion and in its connection forms an open door to the many possibilities of dialogue between man and divinity.

Returning to yoga, for this prayer mudra that receives the original name of Pranam Mudra, the word in common use that accompanies the gesture is Namasté, adding body language and speech, giving a special almost ceremonial force to the act itself.

Word of divine origin

If we analyze the word, Namasté is a word from Sanskrit, a very complex and sacred ancient language, which could be translated taking two parts: “Namas” which comes from Namaha means “to greet, revere or adore” and “you” which means “You”: that is, I greet you, I revere you, I honor you or I adore you. Of course, the term is referring to the divine part of the being that is greeted.

That is why we can translate it as: “The divine in me greets the divine in you”, or “my spirit greets and honors yours”, or “the best of me greets the best of you”.

In India, Nepal, in Hindu or Buddhist environments it is used daily to greet, say hello or say goodbye. Although it is also used a lot to give thanks, a simple movement that means: thank you, I honor your presence and I perceive your divinity.

The most abundant form is always used by joining the hands at chest level at the heart chakra while slightly tilting the head and squinting, thus creating a complete connection with the other.

For Hinduism, the action of putting the palms together has a symbolic meaning between the one who prays, whose hand is represented by the left palm, and the divinity, whose sole of the foot is represented by the right hand. Thus the infinite and the finite merge in an embrace. Other times, more commonly in Buddhism, this gesture is made at the height of the eyebrows, in this case you want to show even more respect.

Regardless of how this word is translated, using Namasté as a greeting allows people to respectfully connect beyond the egos, honoring the existence of the other from the best that we have. It is a way of recognizing what unites us over differences. We see in the other person a spiritual and valuable being, and we are willing to show respect and honor.

Recognizing in the other the spark of divinity that invisibly unites all beings, allows us to also recognize it in ourselves and enables us to make a connection from a genuine and infinite place.

Source: Rosario Nuestro

Sandra B. Lusk
Freelance author Food,Fitness and Weight Loss

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