Sanskrit is an ancient Hindu language and is the language of yoga. The poses, or asanas, in yoga all have Sanskrit names. Mountain Pose, for example, is called tadasana.

On the one hand, the use of Sanskrit terms in yoga can be considered a way of recognizing and honouring the tradition from whence our modern yoga practices came. On the other hand, the use of these words without any explanation can make yoga seem too esoteric or simply inaccessible to some.

One of the most widely used Sanskrit terms in yoga practices is namasté (pronounced nah-mah-stay). Even in classes where the teacher doesn’t use Sanskrit labels for poses, (s)he will often close the practice by saying “namasté,” which is usually repeated back by the students.

If you’ve never had it explained before, namasté could sound like a strangely pronounced “Have a nice day.” While it sounds a bit like that, its meaning goes much deeper.

Namasté has no direct translation into English. I’ve heard many interpretations, but one of my favourites is “All that is perfect in me recognizes all that is perfect in you, and in that recognition we are one.” This word bridges the gap. It acknowledges that, despite differences in opinion or lifestyle or appearance, we’re really all simply human, and there’s a beauty in that that connects us all.


Other Articles in this issue:
This is Your Health on Sitting
Your Body on Yoga: The Psoas
Take 5 – Make Time for this Quick Stretch: Standing Back Bend
Health Tip: Hydration
Eat Well: Apple Muffins
Balance At Work News