What I Say Instead of ‘Namaste’

May we take our practice from the mat into the world and treat other beings the way we’ve just treated ourselves. Thank you for practicing with me.

That’s what I say.

So, can you still say ‘namaste?’

If you are looking for a simple yes or no answer, I am here to disappoint. No one else can tell you what’s right for you.

I believe that there is no ‘right’ answer to this question. If you are a yoga teacher or student, it is your responsibility to question how your own decisions about what you do and say affects your students or your practice. We have to feel good about our personal approach to this question. There are multiple factors to consider regarding use of the word namaste: the history of the term’s use, its’ correct pronunciation, the context in which it is used, its common meaning versus the direct translation, and so much more.

I decided that if I do say ‘namaste’ as a teacher it will be at the beginning of class as a respectful greeting (the way it is used in India), as a quick way to explain why I won’t be closing the class with the term. And I pronounce it to the very best of my ability.

Ask yourself: How does saying, or not saying, namaste affect me and my students or to my practice? What do I feel most comfortable doing and why?

Here are some other takes on the subject:



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