Namaste: the light in me greets the light in you


Today I want to bring focus to the word “Namaste” that yogis use to greet each other.

I generally believe that we should be aware of the meaning of the words we use, and not just say them because everybody else does so. Especially in yoga, we encounter many words in Sanskrit that we do not have a clue of what means. The poses (asana) each has a name in Sanskrit that we struggle to remember; at times the teacher asks us to make call of response, and busy as we are, trying to pronounce the words correctly, the meaning of the words are left in the background; finally there are words that we just say, such as “Namaste”.

Namaste, however, has a deep meaning. It is a word that is open for interpretation, and here I will give mine. Namaste means “I bow to you”, and I have often heard it translated to “the light in me greets the light in you”. I find the last translation extremely beautiful, respectful and insightful. Namaste is something which we can say to our teacher, students or fellow yogis, but it is also something we ought to live by.

The word encourages us to live by the philosophy that all human beings essentially are good. It guides us to let ourselves be open-minded and warmhearted towards people we know as well as people we do not know. It is about seeking the best in others. The word has a moral element that indicates that people you treat well sooner or later also will treat you well – thereby it can be connected to karma.

The message is important, especially now when there is so much hate in the world. Hate is like a circle. To end people from hating, I myself (and you  as well) must stop hating. We must seek the best in those we hate. The haters and closed-hearted might not treat us well in response, but that should not stop us – Let’s instead take it as a challenge to show how strong we are in our determination to make the world a loving and peaceful place. This can be hard, but do you see the logic?

I will keep my heart open and warm, and I will send out solitude, warmth and love to those I love, those I know, those I do not know, those I meet, and those I will never meet – I will especially send out these qualities to those who need them the most.
I will encourage everybody who says the word “Namaste” regularly to consider if they live up to its meaning, and I will encourage everybody else to take the message of the word into consideration.


One way you can start spreading light, warmth, solitude and especially motivation is to visit the amazing yoga instructor Tine’s blog and participate in supporting people’s intentions (it is in Danish)