Day 15 - 30 Day Yoga Challenge - NAMASTE
Half way! Yoga challengers, how do you feel?
Being around the studio so much these past weeks, I’ve noticed so many new faces. I love January for this reason. Everyone is starting fresh, setting goals, and taking their health seriously. As a yoga student, I enjoy the energy new people bring to the practice. As an instructor, I recognize the awesome responsibility that comes with introducing new students to the discipline of yoga. I want everyone to fall in love with it like I did, of course, but I understand that every person is on their own path. Though, this week, at the end of a practice when we all sat silent in Sukhasana (Easy Pose, or The Pose of Happiness) I realized something may be lost on many newcomers—“Namaste.”
Do you know what “Namaste” truly means? Even if you’ve been practicing for years, you may not have been acquainted with the word past a common translation—“The divine light within me honors the divine light within you.” Yes, Namaste is that, but also so much more.
A quick story: A few years ago, I was enrolled at a university in northern Ontario and it was a particularly dark time—winter, midterms, I had just injured my spine, and I was living far from friends and family. Nearly every day I was on campus, would hobble over on my crutches to the “home-cooked” section of the cafeteria where a cheery old man whipped up stir-frys and fresh pasta dishes in front a long line of undergraduates. The little chef was from Asia somewhere, with a thick accent, and he made light conversation while I waited for my lunch. He was really charming. One day, I finally asked him where he was from.
“Nepal,” he said, “Above India.”
I already knew where it was and I knew that Nepali people sometimes say, “Namaste” to each other, so the next time I ordered lunch, I greeted him with “Namaste.” He laughed, his eyes twinkling.
“You know Namaste?” he asked and I told him I had learned it during my yoga training. From then on, we greeted each other with “Namaste” and it served as an acknowledgement. He wasn’t just a chef behind the wok and I wasn’t just another student in line. Namaste was a little light in my day.
While we respond “Namaste” to our yoga teacher at the end of a practice, we should really be offering “Namaste” to the entire class, and traditionally greet each other at the beginning of practice as well. Breaking down the word, ‘Nama’ means ‘bow’, and ‘te’ means you. So, a fairly direct translation leads to “I bow to you.” Outside of the everyday, and infused with a spiritual practice within a community, “Namaste” can offer so much more. It is an act to perform. You place your hands, palms together, at the center of the chest or forehead and bow slightly (or deeply, depending), offering honor to your counterpart. It’s not necessary to know someone to trade “Namastes,” but perhaps the salutation feels as if it means more when you exchange it with those you know or love. That’s not the case. “Namaste” acknowledges that we are all pieces of the Universe, maybe made up of stardust, and containing the divine. In this way, we are all the same. We are all one. “Namaste” reminds us of this most important principle of life.
My favorite expression of Namaste’s essence comes from Mahatma Gandhi— “I honor the place within you were the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”
Remember the meaning of “Namaste” the next time you say it and your words will hold even more power.
carrot, ginger, lemon, apples = yummy, healthy goodness
A late afternoon pick me up JUICE (instead of the ever tempting king cake) :)
With the ever changing weather here in NEW ORLEANS (it was 80 degrees yesterday and 55 degrees today) we are constantly trying to keep up our immune systems and energy levels with healthier habits (fresh juices + yoga). Today’s treat was a spicy carrot (with LEMONS of course) based concoction! try some today.
* and we couldn’t help showing off our NEW WATER bottles at LIFE
when LIFE gives you lemons...
This cold weather is the perfect time to try a warm cup of water + the juice of 1/2 a lemon. We have been reading about all the health benefits of incorporating lemons/lemon juice into our lives daily and are excited about SHARING it all with you in 2013. This is our way of helping to compliment your yoga practice/workout and promoting health on the go.
We are offering fresh lemon water daily in our yoga studio. Nothing like getting a great stretch and then quenching your thirst with some lemon water.
So look out for more tips and flavored water recipes from us in 2013!
ENJOY some LEMON today.
- boost immune system
- aids in digestion
- clears skin
- hydrates the lymph system
- helps with weight loss
- acts as natural diuretic
(* some of this information was provided by mindbodygreen.com)