What does namaste mean: The Origin of Namaste and how it’s Used in Yoga?

Jun 1, 2021 | yoga&health

Namaste is a word that everyone might have heard from their yoga instructor. You might be knowing even about the pose which is associated with this word. But you might not be knowing the true significance of the word or the religious implication that it embraces both in India and across the world.

Even though the word has increased in its popularity in the western world, Namaste has a much deeper meaning than people know.

What does Namaste mean?

Namaste is a kind of Sanskrit phrase. It mixes the word “namah,” meaning to bow or bend, and “te,” pointing to you. When we put it together, it is bowing to you.

In the western world, the word Namaste is said for when the person bows. In Yoga, it is mainly done in the beginning and during the end of the class as a mode of salutation and goodbye. Whether it is a 500 hour or 200-hour yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, Namaste is a mandatory practice.

But in Indian culture, a small bow only implies Namaste. Saying the word is not necessary, especially in India because the bow only speaks.

The origin of the word Namaste.

Namaste is a word that is used as a form of greeting across the world. The gesture used is a style of saying hello as well as an informal goodbye environment. For instance, when somebody speaks to an older adult or any stranger, they do not know well. In simple words, it is one of the popular greetings used across the Indian Subcontinent and in some parts of Asia. But the term is highly used in Hinduism and Yoga.

Use of Namaste in Yoga

The gesture Namaste implies that one soul is acknowledging another soul. It brings peace to your mind and body. It is used as one of the techniques of mediation and is the most commonly used yoga practice.

The yoga posture of Namaste mainly includes standing on the yoga mat and holding the hands together close to the heart chakra. Because it is the place where the divine power sparks in each human being, all you have to do is close your eyes and bow your head while you practice this pose.

There is also one more way through which you can do this pose. You can start with folded hands pressed with each other in front of the third eye located in your forehead. Then bring your hands down towards your heart while bending your head.

No matter which way you use this pose, the meaning is always the same. Even though it is commonly called Namaste pose, the Sanskrit word used for this gesture is Anjali Mudra.

How should you pronounce Namaste?

You can pronounce Namaste as “Nah-mah-stey” and is spoken with a simple bowing and hands pressing against each other in the Anjali Mudra.

You can either keep your eyes open that gaze at the eyes of the other person, or you can keep your eyes closed. When the yoga class ends, your instructor ends the course with a Namaste and then expects the same thing from the students. While you say Namaste to someone, you should feel the love, kindness, respect, and gratitude towards that person.

Reasons for saying Namaste?

When you say Namaste, it is one of the sweet and humble ways of showing respect to the other person. It helps you show kindness, pureness, and wish for the other person you say Namaste. Saying Namaste offers a very strong opportunity to see and recognize the good side and the virtue in another person.

What Namaste signify in Yoga?

  • It’s a greeting for your humanity: In India and other places where Sanskrit is used, Namaste is a greeting in daily life to address someone, but in the world of Yoga, it is a more profound gesture of respecting the other person. When you say the word Namaste, it makes a connection to your divine soul. From that place, you usually bow to the divine that sparks in the other person. Divine here does not mean something religious, but to the pure part of ourselves, either to the inner light or our spirit.
  • It connects with other people of the yoga community: Every yoga session ends with Savasana or the corpse pose, but the word Namaste is the real end of the session. For some instructors, Namaste facilitates them to connect with other students easily, whether they are beginners or advanced, and provides a gesture of best understanding. It is how the instructors bond with their students strengthens and feel that they are an important part of the whole practice. When Namaste is used genuinely, it serves to acknowledge that every student is an important part of the practice, similar to the instructor.
  • It generates a sense of equality among all involved in the practice: When an instructor says Namaste towards the end of the yoga practice class, students also repeat. It puts everyone on the same level. This, the primary principle of Namaste, is creating an environment of equality. It helps in cultivating a relationship of friendship and trust among the yoga partners.
  • It assists in respecting others: Identifying the divine in others is one of the first steps for bringing Namaste into the practice outside of the mat. When we connect to other people who should not judge them from how they appear or what position they hold in the society. We must try to see the good things in them. This also includes being open to other people’s views as well as perspectives. It should not matter where they are coming from. An instructor greeting each of her students is a way to make them feel secure and at ease. Namaste is everything about enriching an environment with much compassion.


Thus, to summarize, the Namaste greeting is a sign of gratitude and respect between an instructor and students. It generates an amalgamation of spirits. It unblocks your heart chakra and develops a feeling of peace. It facilitates the yogis and the teachers to connect spiritually with the help of their energies during online yoga teacher training.