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Namaste Meaning

The meaning of Namaste, a guide

What does Namaste mean?

Have you heard your yoga teacher say Namaste at the end of a yoga class and wondered what it really means? We can help!

The Sanskrit origins of the word are 'Namah' meaning a 'bow', and 'te' meaning 'you.' Put them together and this is a salutation literally meaning 'I bow to you.'

In yoga classes, the word is often more romantically explained as 'the spirit in me honours the spirit in you', or 'the light in me honours the light in you.'

Namaste is also a gesture or “mudra” that you can perform. Although in the West, the term is usually spoken alongside the Namaste gesture, in India, some yogis use the gesture itself to mean Namaste, without the need to speak the term aloud.

To try the Namaste position, simply put your hands in prayer at the heart, fingertips pointing upwards. Then take a small bow, saying Namaste as you bend.

Calming, isn’t it?

How is Namaste pronounced in English?

Although the pronunciation of Namaste differs slightly throughout different parts of India, the first two syllables should be pronounced with more of an "uh" sound than an "ah" sound as it is often misspoken in the West. Therefore, Namaste should be read as "Num-uh-stay". Yes, we agree - there’s definitely a t-shirt in there somewhere.

Where did Namaste originate?

Namaste is not just a yogic term. Although Namaste began in the East as a method of expressing deep respect, it is now used as a common Indian greeting. It can be used by anyone, to greet anyone – from strangers to family and friends – at any time of day.

Namaste can also be spoken as a sign of sincere gratitude and respect to another. In the Hindu religion, Namaste is used for reflecting the belief that the divine self, or “atman”, is present in everyone.

When does Namaste originate from?

Namaste is a much older term than you may have thought.

The word Namaste is used as a greeting in the Vedas, which are a huge body of ancient texts originating in India, all written in Sanskrit. The Vedas are made up of texts of 

spiritual literature, religious knowledge, and Hindu scripture. "Vedic", from the Sanskrit word “veda”, means knowledge or revelation. Although it is said that the Vedas were 

written thousands of years ago, the words within the texts were spoken and taught for a long time before they were ever written down.

When do you use Namaste?

You can incorporate Namaste into your practice whether you do yoga by yourself or with other people.

If you want to use it when you’re alone you can say it aloud to open and close your yoga or meditation session. Try closing your eyes, inhaling deeply, and saying Namaste as you exhale. This can deepen your meditation, by allowing you to surrender your thoughts and give thanks to the world.

However, Namaste is most often used at the beginning and conclusion of yoga classes, when the teacher will say the term to their fellow yogis, who will repeat it back, as a sign of mutual gratitude towards each other. Simply repeating Namaste at the end of a class can bring you back from focusing on the self in yoga, to connecting with others around you. Saying Namaste at the end of a yoga session also shows respect and thankfulness to the yoga teachers of the past – connecting yogis past and present.

What is the difference between Namaskar and Namaste??

You may have heard some people say Namaskar instead of Namaste. No, they haven’t mispronounced Namaste completely – although they sound very similar and mean more or less the same thing, they are used in different ways.

They both offer salutations to another and both can be used as greetings or gestures of respect. However, Namaskar, pronounced “Nuh-muh-skar", is more formal and translates as “I pay my salutations.”

You can practice a Namaskar bow, much as you would the Namaste bow, in yoga or as a greeting. Place your hands together at the chest in the prayer position, palms touching. Then take a bow, as you say Namaskar.


Lucy Edge
Founder of YogaClicks. 

Quick guide to Navasana or Boat Pose

An Easy Guide to Navasana, or Boat Pose

Navasana, or Boat Pose, is one of the star yoga poses for building strength in the hips, lower back and the abdomen, and is your go-to pose for building core stability.

How to do Navasana, or Boat Pose, in easy steps


Step 1: 

Sit on the ground with legs extended out in front of you (Dandasana).

Step 2: 

Lean back slightly. Inhale and lift your chest upward to lengthen the front of your upper body. Find the stability of the point created by your two sitting bones and the tailbone.

Step 3: 

On your next exhalation, bend your knees and bring your feet off the mat until the shins are parallel to the floor.

Step 4: 

Slowly extend your arms alongside the legs, parallel to each other and the floor.

Step 5: 

Soften the shoulders and move the shoulder blades down the back. Reach through the fingertips. Alternatively, keep the hands on the floor or gently hold onto the backs of your thighs.

Step 6: 

Straighten your knees if possible. As you do this continue to lengthen the front of your torso so your back doesn't round. If straightening the legs feels too strong, keep your knees bent.

Step 7: 

Press the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the sternum. Breathe easily.

Step 8: 

Stay for a few breaths. Gradually increase the time spent in the full pose - from 3 breaths to 10.

Step 9: 

To come out of the pose, release the legs while exhaling, and sit up straight with an inhalation.

Yoga pose category: Seated and twists

Level: 1

Navasana, or Boat Pose, is supposed to be one of those easy yoga poses for beginners. But if you have weak abs it could challenge you for a while. Keep at it! It’s a pose which, once mastered, makes lots of other yoga poses easier.  


Sanskrit words meaning:

Nava – boat

Asana – seat, pose or position

Health benefits:

Like all yoga poses, Navasana has many health benefits. Use it to help with the following health conditions:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Menstruation
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Digestion
  • Stress
  • Round shoulders


Don’t practice Navasana if you have any of the following health conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Back injury
  • Hernia
  • Pregnancy

Lucy Edge
Founder of YogaClicks. 

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