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Namaste: you hear this word often spoken at the beginning and at the end of a yoga class. But what does “Namaste” mean?
Namaste (pronounced nah-mah-STAY) is an ancient Sanskrit word used as a salutation. Its literal meaning is “I bow to you,” but it’s often translated as “I honour the Spirit in you which is also in me” or “Your Spirit and my Spirit are one.”
The word Namaste recognizes that, though we’re all unique and individual human beings, we’re all part of a greater universal essence. Just like snowflakes: all are made of snow, but each one has its own unique design.
Namaste is not only a mantra (word or expression) denoting honour; it is also a mudra – a hand posture. Placing your hands in prayer at your heart is a sign of respect, humility and gratitude. When you combine the mantra, the word Namaste, with the prayer mudra, hands together at the heart, the symbolism and energy is amplified.
So Namaste is more than just a word used when we do yoga. It’s a vibration of respect and honour you bestow on yourself and others.
Ancient Sanskrit Blessing:
“I honour the place in you where Spirit lives. I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Wisdom, of Light, of Peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, then we are one.”
People have often asked me why we have a “relaxation” time at the end of a yoga class. Why do we lie down and rest in Savasana?
Savasana (pronounced sha-VAH-sa-na) is Sanskrit for “Corpse Pose.” Being able to completely relax the body, as well as the mind, during Savasana is an integral part of any yoga practice. In a yoga class, your mind and body experience a connection of energies. By resting, the body can begin its natural healing and regenerating process which is so important to our health and vitality. Savasana allows the energies and adjustments of the poses and breath-work done during a yoga class to be fully integrated into your body, mind and soul.
We tend to think that once our legs are extended along our mat, in Savasana, our body is fully relaxed. However, often, it isn’t.
So, in your next yoga class, take a moment to explore Savasana. Make sure you’re comfortable: place a bolster under your knees, lengthen your neck by tilting your chin down or placing a cushion under your head, or wrap yourself in a blanket. Allow yourself to fully enjoy the relaxation time knowing your body, mind and soul are reaping the benefits of your yoga experience.
Each day, our energetic body or “aura” accumulates energies from other people around us, our environment and our circumstances. Those energies are vibrations that come from thoughts, feelings and words. However, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that often these thoughts, feelings and words are limiting (“negative”) energies. Surrounding ourselves with limiting energies, over time, will strain and deplete our aura, which may eventually cause dis-ease in the body and mind.
Just like you bathe to cleanse your physical body, your energetic body also needs cleansing. There are many ways to release limiting energies from the aura. One way is to have a treatment with an energy worker, such as a Reiki practitioner.
Another option is using a cleansing breath. As you inhale through the nose, imagine a golden beam of light from the Universe entering through the Crown at the top of your head. As you exhale through the mouth, visualize a grey mist being released from your body. This breath will begin the cleansing process by eliminating some of the limiting energies and replenishing your energetic body.
Reducing the limiting energies entering your aura and cleansing your energetic body regularly will help you on your path to wellness.
The stress of the holiday season can often leave you feeling tired and depleted – mentally, emotionally and physically. Regaining a sense of personal balance can be challenging.
One of the easiest ways to begin releasing residual tension is to mindfully reconnect with your breath. By simply focusing on the natural flow of your breath, your body will begin to relax. A powerful exercise is to gently increase the inhalation with every breath so it eventually becomes even in length with the exhalation.
Though breathing is a natural function of everyday life, many people find it difficult to inhale deeply. Exhaling releases stress, tension and even toxins from the body, but inhaling is just as important. The inhalation brings fresh oxygen into the body which nourishes every cell. This nourishment increases our state of mental alertness, strengthens our physical body and encourages the proper functioning of the body’s natural immune system.
So, the next time you feel tired or depleted and you want to regain a sense of balance, focus on your breath. And remember that you are not only inhaling to nourish your body and mind, but also to inspire your soul.