If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, it likely ended with the teacher saying “Namaste,” and perhaps with the class responding in kind. If it was your first yoga experience, you may have wondered what any of it meant.

Some yoga teachers go further and close their classes with something like, “The [light/beauty/love] in me sees and [honours/bows to] the [light/beauty/love] in you,” which is lovely, and a reasonable translation of a concept that has no direct English counterpart, but it’s still a bit esoteric, isn’t it?

Here’s what Namaste means to me:

When I look at you, and you look at me,
and we ignore each others’ hair and the clothes we wear,
the cars we drive, the houses we live in, and the jobs we hold,
when we disregard each others’ skin colours and body shapes,
musical tastes, political and religious affiliations, and sexual preferences,
when we lay our judgements and prejudices aside,
when we see through the masks we wear
to hide our fears and shames and guilts from the outside world,
when we see through the armour we wear
to protect our vulnerabilities from deeper sorrows and hurts,
when we cut through all the layers, the constructs, the bullshit,
what’s left is our basic humanity,
our essences that really only want to love and be loved,
to be seen and heard and felt,
our lights,
and it’s THAT part of me that recognizes that part of you,
that sees you for who you are,
and sees that at that level, we are no different,
that we are one and the same,
and in seeing that,
and in knowing that,
bows in honour to the fundamental humanity that we share.