In much of the world today, people do not shake hands when they meet. They may hug formally and kiss one another on the cheek, as in Eastern Europe and Arab states. They may bow softly, eyes turned to the ground, as in Japan and China. The Hawaiian greeting, termed honi, consists of placing the nostril gently beside that of the person greeted, a kind of sharing of breath, which is life and prana.
For Hindus, of course, the greeting of choice is namaste, the two hands pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed as one says, “Namaste”. In Sanskrit namas means “bow”, and te means “to you”. Thus namaste means “I bow to you”. The hands held in union signify oneness, the bringing together of spirit and matter, or the self meeting the Self.
The namaste gesture also acts like a simple yogic asana, balancing and harmonizing our energies, keeping us centered, inwardly poised and mentally protected. It closes our aura, shielding us psychically. In keeping us from becoming too externalized, thus we remain close to our intuitive nature, our more expanded being. It draws us inward for a moment.
*Excerpt courtesy of Hinduism Today
A Ritual of Honoring Your Inner Light
Like other significant rituals, namaste can become an unconscious gesture or it can be an ongoing opportunity for affirming life. “As I walk this path of life, spirit embodied in physical form, opportunity presents kindred spirits I can honor. I can recognize the Light within their physical form and that we share this earth journey”. Not bobbing and weaving all day long, hands pressed together, but taking occasional sacred moments to remind one’s self and to share the knowing of life beyond the physical and what a celebration our time here on earth is.
Practice in front of a mirror. Look into your face, your eyes, your heart, until you have a sense of your more-ness. Place your palms together, bow slightly and honor your inner light. In the midst of a stressful day, this simple practice can bring much needed dignity and balance. Remember that from a place of honoring Self, you will treat others in like kind. They will be impacted and as ripples on a pond, your whole world can be touched by the simple gesture of you honoring your Light, your beauty, your gift.
*from the CD cover of Namaste. This CD offers soothing background music for your Yoga practice, plus a second CD offering a 15-minute guided Meditation session.