Namaste What?!?

You may have heard it in class, or just around, the word Namaste. Some of our teachers may say it at the end of class, some not. What is it? What does it mean? And why do we say it? And am i supposed to say it back?

Namaste is a Sanskrit word. Sanskrit is the ancient language of India. Today in India they speak Hindi, among many, many other languages. Sanskrit is old and not commonly used to communicate daily. Here are the most widely used translations of the word Namaste : 

Na·ma·ste ˈnäməˌstā/ exclamation

  1. a respectful greeting said when giving a namaskar.  

  2. noun: namaste; plural noun: namastes  another term for namaskar, ( a traditional Indian greeting or gesture of respect, made by bringing the palms together before the face or chest and bowing.)

Origin via Hindi from Sanskrit namas ‘bowing’ + te ‘to you.’  A lot of times a teacher may describe it like this:

  • I honor the spirit in you that is also in me.
  • The wisdom in me recognizes and acknowledges the wisdom in you. 


Why do we say it?

Not all teachers or yoga students do, but Namaste is passed on in yoga teacher trainings and classes. No one really says you have to or that you should say it. But here in the West it is used by teachers to acknowledge the time we've spent together working hard in class! Its a way to respectfully say thank you and appreciate one another. 

Am I supposed to say it back, or at all? No.        

Can you?     Sure. It is entirely up to you. Do your thing.                    

Will my teacher say it?   Maybe, but some might just close the class with another statement of appreciation.