What does Namaste actually mean? 

At the end of each yoga class, our instructors always say “namaste”. It sounds beautiful, and you might have an idea of what it means. But what is the purpose of it and why does every yoga instructor conclude their class with their hands at heart center and bow while saying this word? Here’s the literal sanskrit breakdown:

  • Nama = bow
  • as = I
  • te = you

I bow to you.

It’s so simple yet so profound. “I bow to you.” I bow to the light and love that is within you and also within me. I acknowledge your being, your presence, your human life force on this earth. I bow to you.

Before I close my yoga classes, I usually ask my students to bring their hands to their heart center/heart chakra and feel their thumbs in their heart space. Feeling the connection between our hands and our heart allows us to open up our hearts, receive love into that space, and send love out of that space to the world and people around us.

Then we raise our prayer hands up to our third eye center – the space between our eyebrows – also known as the Ajna chakra. This chakra center controls our connection to our inner knowing/seeing (thus, third eye) a.k.a. intuition, highest self, etc. The Ajna chakra correlates to our pineal gland, which produces melatonin (yes, our bodies naturally produce melatonin and you don’t need to take it in a pill if you meditate regularly!) Our happiness and well-being is directly affected by harmony in the pineal.

We say Namaste and bow to one another to recognize that the same light, energy, and consciousness that flows throughout each and everyone of us on this earth. Every human, animal, sentient being…we are all connected to the same One source that fuels us.

The next time you go to yoga class, try this: instead of just saying “namaste” and rushing out of the class to cleanse the stank out of your sweat-soaked lululemons, hold your prayer hands to your third eye center and take a minute or two to breathe into that space. Take a moment to slow down and feel your connection to the Universe.  When you tap into that feeling of Oneness – connection to all beings – you forget about the little things that don’t matter. You forget about the person that cut you off in traffic on the way to class, or the things that you didn’t get done at work that day. You gain perspective on what really matters, and you gain the drive to continue working toward your life dreams.

My dream is to heal others through yoga. If everyone in the world did yoga every day, the world would be a better place. This is why yoga heals the world.

What makes you feel connected to the world and your higher purpose?


Follow my journey on Instagram at @YogaHealsTheWorld.

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