At the end of each yoga class most teachers bring their hands together in front of the heart, bow their head and say "Namaste" and the students bring their hands together and respond in kind. Have you ever wondered exactly what Namaste means?
Namaste is both a spoken Indian expression and a symbolic gesture that people use when greeting each other or in parting. Pronounced “na-ma-stay,” the term derives from Sanskrit and literally means “I bow to you.” It’s more commonly translated as “the divine light in me honors the divine light in you” or “the God within me greets the God within you.” Namaste is the recognition that we are all equal and share a common divinity.
To perform the Namaste gesture, place your palms together in a prayer position in front of your heart and slightly bow your head. You may also close your eyes if you wish. To indicate especially deep respect, you may put your hands together in front of your forehead (the site of the mystic third eye), gently bow your head, and bring hands down to your heart.
Bringing the hands together is a highly symbolic gesture. According to tradition, the right hand represents the higher self or the divine within, while the left hand represents the lower, worldly self. By pressing the palms together, the person performing Namaste unites these two aspects and attempts to connect with the individual before him or her. Bowing also expresses love and respect.