Meaning of namaste

Meaningful Nature of Namaste

Namaste Connects Us

What does namaste mean? Ever wonder what it means at the end of yoga class when the teacher puts her hands together in front of her heart, bows her head and says, “namaste”? Traditionally, namaste is a customary greeting in India and Nepal when individuals greet and is reciprocated accordingly. It’s pronounced “nam-a-stay”. From Sanskrit it’s a combination of two words “namah” and “te”. “Namah” means “bow” and “te” means “to you”, so translated it means: “I bow to you”. However, the literal translation is a little more nuanced and suggests that it’s not a superficial gesture or word but has deep spiritual significance.


Here are a few meanings that I have uncovered:

All sacred in me greets all sacred in you
Honor the peace within
The light in me honors and respects the light in you
I bow to the divine in you
The light in me recognizes the light in you


Namaste (the gesture of putting the hands together and bowing the head and saying “namaste”) is a symbol of gratitude and respect. In other words one person is recognizing that we’re all one light or spirit in addition to seeing themselves in another. Essentially what it’s saying is that we’re all one, we’re all connected.

This idea of being connected is reflective of yoga’s end goal, to bring balance and dissolve any illusion that opposites exist.

Every time we look for similarities between ourselves and another we are experiencing yoga that is all around us. We remind ourselves of this balance when we bring our hands in front of our heart in prayer.


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