By Edith Lazenby
Why do we end each yoga class with Namaste?
Many initiates to yoga ask me what it is and its purpose. We know hands in prayer [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Anjali Mudra] carries great significance but this simple word is such a ritual. Let me explain for you. Nama means bow and implies I bow while te means you. So literally this means I bow to you. Yet it is so much more.
First we have our hands in Anjali Mudra. This mudra is a seal of intention, and the intention of prayerful hands speaks volumes.
Often when I explain this simple word I say it means the light in me sees the light in you. In India it is a greeting as well as a way to say good-bye. In the West we shake hangs or hug. In India, the land of spirituality, people bow. We honor the sacred in one another.
Anjali Mudra is a gesture of offering and faith.
Anjali also means divine offering. This gesture with the word Namaste reminds us that yoga is a spiritual practice. I know in most places in the West we focus on Asana yet this word and gesture remind us of the intention behind all yoga, whether Asana or not. Also often with our hands in this mudra we rest the thumb on the sternum near the heart and/or the index fingers on the third eye as we bow.
This bow, mudra and word is a way the teacher of your class can honor and thank the students for being present to yoga.
Remember yoga means to yoke, to make one.
For a moment when we bow and say Namaste both student and teacher are one. In one word we can say so much to thank each other and inspire the best in one another; to honor the sacred is to acknowledge the god within each of us, that spirit, and if you will, the god that is behind us all.
Next time you go to yoga and bow remember yourself. Try resting your thumb on your sternum and as you bow touch your third eye. These points correspond to energy centers in the body, the body that intuits and sees and the body of the heart and feeling. And then take a moment to feel deeply within those bodies as you honor yourself, your teacher and your class.
Editor: Ty H Phillips