What is the Meaning of Namaskar?

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namaskaram-3What is the Meaning of Namaskar?.

When my Guruji the Late Shri Radha Kant Jha was in residence at our Omlink Studio he shared his interpretation of Namaskar:

“... When we bow our heads we lower our ego, when we join our hands we limit our physical might, (any disagreement/violence) to another, and with the hand gesture placed at our hearts we let our heart energy guide us as we let our Divine Spirit Rise in union with All.  Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti OM.”

Do click the link below the picture to read Sadhguru’s explanation for Namaskar, a powerful mudra and more….please do share with all of your Yogini, Yogi friends, OM Namaskaram

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49 responses »

  1. Julie- This makes it soooo much more meaningful! Thank you
    “..*. When we bow our heads we lower our ego, when we join our hands we limit our physical might, (any disagreement/violence) to another, and with the hand gesture placed at our hearts we let our heart energy guide us as we let our Divine Spirit Rise in union with All. *

  2. What is the Meaning of Namaskar?
    The scientific aspect to Namaskar is found in the unconscious mind when first seeing or meeting someone. The initial response is to judge, label and assume things based on past experiences. As discussed by McAfee in past readings the thoughts we have are from the mind that conflicts with how the body interacts or responds to situations, such is prevalent in the practice of namaskaram. The focus is on bowing down which reveals a source that is acknowledged as an element of the person or situation of which judgment is made. One is uniting all energies within themselves by aligning creations with oneself and the other by creating an oneness through the palms. It is stated the hands have never endings that correlate with different systems in the body as well as, balance between likes and dislikes, I would like to state the hands also are the first mechanisms used when interacting with different energies. The underlying concept is to be able to give and interact with life. If one is cooperating with life in turn ones wellbeing is turned into a gesture that shows the understanding of the human relation in a cultural and scientific manner that

  3. There are a handful of components of the true meaning of namaskar, but namaskar is done to create a oneness in thyself and recognize the source of creation as it is in you as well as everybody else. Namaskar is done as respect or a peace offering. This makes me think of karma in that Sadhguru stated that “Only if you are in a state of giving, things around will work out for you.” Namaskar puts you in a state of giving. This was extremely insightful and i will no longer take this hand gesture for granted, as i now know it can have powerful effects.

  4. I found this article very interesting because I always had wondered what the gesture of namaskar meant in relation to yoga. I was not sure if it had to do with praying to a yogic figure or if it had a different significance, but Sadghuru is able to explain all that the gesture means perfectly. The bowing down allows you to be in the present moment. It lets you rid of all past experiences and judgements. You are able to grasp the “now”, which is an essential part of the yogic practice. You are able to be a more conscious being when you bow down because you can recognize the source of creation behind your likes and dislikes. I found it very intriguing that when you place your hands together in the namaskar gesture, your dualities become leveled out. When your dualities level out, you ultimately are able to express your true self and recognize your energies in your body united as one. After reading this I now feel as if I can be more aware of the energy inside my body when doing the namaskar gesture. I will be more conscious of the positive feelings it brings to my body and will be much more focused when doing so.

    This past week I was able to practice the Isha Kriya 10 times. Since I was home for the week it was much easier to obtain a quiet place where I could fully concentrate on my Isha Kriya. I practiced shortly after waking up and before bed time for 5 days. The feelings of relaxation and decreased stress levels continue to prosper. My energy was high and my focus was outstanding this past week. My breathing has become an essential consciousness to my body. I feel at my best when I do the Isha Kriya daily. I am happy I was able to practice more over break.

    Namaste,
    Caitlin McCarthy

  5. Namaskar is passing judgement about something instantaneously, it is natural but according to the article is not a proper way to greet. Noticing the namaskar is important because it cannot be ignored or shoved off in a passive way, in order to effectively deal with the unpleasantness of our judgements that seem to be ingrained it can be helpful to have a method to release it. Bowing with hands together can be a powerful gesture in which we adjust ourselves and these automatic responses in order to dominate the mind and have control to move our thoughts and feelings to a more positive, kind, productive and meaningful way.

  6. Namaskar seems to be an excellent of way of behaving and carrying yourself in ideal as way as possible. Often others I knows as well as myself seem to run through life on autopilot, being driven entirely by our egos. As discussed in the article, we judge and disrespect the people and things which surround us. I believe if we were to all have a practice such as the Namaskar become common place, we would live better lives. Surrendering yourself to the moment and respecting the oneness in things strongly effects the interpretation of your experiences. If I simply remember to think in such a way as I walk through life, I can feel that effect. The Namaskar looks like a great way of achieving this.

    The Isha Kriya like any other practice, only improves over time. I have become better and more comfortable with practicing it five days a week. It continues to provide me a mellow and healthfully detached state of mind during a very stressful time of my life.

    • Wonderful…I am sure you can find a way to incorporate the ideas of Namaskar in your own personal style….so glad you are able to reap the benefits of the Isha Kriya…stay on the path….OM

  7. I love the idea of Namaskar being a “state of giving.” There is something so beautiful about giving with no intention and allowing yourself to become part of a whole that is greater than you. It is in that gesture that I believe we find real happiness. We are able to move with the world, and thereby the world moves with us.

  8. This was an insightful reading, but a lot of this I have already discovered in myself. I am never one to judge other based on appearance for I can never truly know all in life they have experienced. This judgment of mine is unavoidable because I have been immersed in society all my life, yet after I have an initial reaction to someone whether good or bad, I strive to treat everyone with the same respect and decency as I would expect. I also found it interesting to realize that bit about the palms touching. I know that the hands are a very sensitive area but now can relate how it is stimulated while I’m doing yoga to the fact the fact that it was developed for such a reason. It was just something I never thought about before.

  9. Namaskar is a gesture of bringing the palms together and bowing down. It is not just a cultural aspect but is done to connect energies. Namaskar comes from a place of respect. In doing the Namaskar you let go of judgments you make that are derived from your past experiences and it allows you to recognize the source of creation within the individual. It is a way to center you in the present. The source of creation is within all that surrounds you whether the sky above or the earth below. By doing the Namaskar you recognize this and that it exists within you as well. Another factor of the Namaskar is the palms bbeing brought together. In your palms you have many nerve endings by bringing them together you are bringing a oneness to who you are. All this shows that the Namaskar is not just a cultural aspect but has a sound science behind it as well. This article was very informative. I never thought about the science bhind certain rituals or cultural norms. It makes sense as to why it is done and the power behind it. The part about the namaskar helping destroy pre-judgments is also particularly interesting; this part reminds me of the last chapter in the Secret of the Yamas. By doing the namaskar it places you in the present and destroys the judgments derived from the past. It also makes you aware of yourself thoughts and feelings and makes the ego disappear.

    I have been keeping up with the Isha Kriya and the meditation has become easier. Although depending on my mood, clearing my mind is either easier or difficult, overall the process is going more smoothly. The Isha Kriya has especially helped when I am the most stressed. Once I complete the Isha Kriya my mind becomes clearer and the obstacles I must over come become easier to handle. Clearing my mind completely is still a constant struggle but I have managed a few times to attain it.

  10. This post taught me that mudras, holding the palms together, neutralize likes and dislikes, balance you. This is something I have felt intuitively so it was wonderful to learn that this is the intent of mudras. And namaskar allows you to lessen your judgements, because when you do it you focus on the ‘source of creation’ within the person to whom you are greeting. I have heard before that Namaste means “the best in me honors the best in you.” I think this is just a different way of expressing that, that the force of creation in me recognizes the force of creation in another. We would be such a powerful humanity if we could all see each other and greet each other in this way. I plan to remember this each time I interact with someone and notice my own judgments halting me from honoring our union as part of the force of creation.

  11. Indian culture has scientific tones that are thousands of years old. Often practices we see as superstition have a logical explanation behind it, but because of our ignorance we mislabel them. One such tradition is namaskar, what we perceive as polite bowing, is actually bringing the palms together and bowing down as a constant reminder that the source of creation is within us all and the palms are brought together because there are a lot of nerve endings there that can effect your system. We make unconscious judgments towards people that are colored by past experiences, not reality. This bowing gesture shows that you are in a state of giving and realizing that all your energies are functioning as one. Sadhguru shows us another example of something we have to be more aware of everyday, we can’t judge people on sight, with pre-conceived notions. We must live in the now and be respectful of everyone’s ways because they are different and we might not understand where they come from or know why they are doing something.

  12. In doing namaskar by folding your hands together and bowing down to another person, you are recognizing and appreciating who they are in this moment and disposing of any subconscious judgments that may have been made. The idea of this seems very pleasant and nice in practice, in that you are greeting someone by visibly acknowledging who they’ve come to be rather than assuming who they may have been/will be. That must make one more aware of their surroundings, and more appreciative of the people they come across since you are engaging with them through the namaskar.

  13. This has taught me a lot about why we do namaskar, which I never actually understood. It is an amazing gesture to make in my opinion, to release our egos and physical power to let another person know that we are peaceful. This makes me want to leave in a place where this is a common practice, where people bow to each other in a constant reminder that we are all from the same creation.

  14. Sadhguru argues that we make unconscious judgments about other people based on our past experiences which are usually inaccurate. These judgments prevent us from experiencing people and events as they are. Sadhguru tells us that bowing is used to alleviate these judgments by humbling yourself in front of the individual and instead acknowledging the source of creation within them. He goes on to say that putting your hands together while bowing is a method for leveling out the various opposites that exist within you, this is called namaskaram.

  15. Before reading this, I was completely unaware of the power and meaning behind such a simple gesture. The bowing to the creator is an interesting part of the practice and how in India they bow after looking up at the sky, when they meet people, when they see an animal. It’s a beautiful practice that people from other countries or religions may see is as strange, and ask “why are they bowing to the sky? Why are they bowing to the cow?” They are showing respect and thanks to their creator for creating the life before them, that’s something a lot of cultures don’t do enough. The hand gesture is also interesting because it’s not only a religious or cultural gesture, it’s also a scientific reaction of the movement of atoms and friction. But together we see the meaning of yoga, the unity or oneness.
    “The moment you place your hands together, your dualities, your likes and dislikes, your cravings and aversions, all these things are leveled out. There is a certain oneness to the expression of who you are. The energies are functioning as one.”
    This was very interesting and I’m glad I was able to read this because I certainly have an even greater understanding and respect the culture, religion, and the practice.

    My Isha Kriya for the week of Sunday March, 31 – Saturday April 5
    My notes are bit messy but I practiced my Isha Kriya 5 times during this week. It seems to be helping me to ease into more of a relaxed state before bed and is giving me some more incentive to go to bed earlier, on a more regular schedule. I felt myself getting sick Thursday night and woke up on Friday with a full cold and I felt awful but I did do my Isha Kriya, it lasted longer than usual and it was tough to say the Ah sound because my throat hurt but the breathing and even the posture seemed to help my headache and body aches. I took a break on Saturday though, I was too sick to do much of anything.
    -Emily Gregorek

  16. I really enjoyed reading about the meaning of namaskar because when we practice the hatha yoga I truly feel everything that was described. After completing a set of sun salutations in class in feel like I’m releasing all the energy that was just built up to the sky, I feel it in my hands.It’s very relaxing and humbling to let it all go

  17. it was pretty cool learning more in depth what Namaskar meant when you perform it. I believe you has said it earlier in our class but seeing more in depth it explained more thoroughly it makes it more significant to me. from what I got Namaskar levels everything out your beliefs, thoughts, likes, and dislikes. everything seems to become one and you are recognizing that you are a part of this universe as well. it is a way giving and expressing understanding to things and I appreciate that.

    • Wonderful that you understand more about Namaste…wondering if you have begun by now your Isha Kriya practice…it has been part of the assignments from the beginning of semester….?

  18. Namaskar is a gesture of bringing the palms together and bowing down and comes from a place of respect. It provides a feeling of “oneness” and comes from a giving nature. I have always wondered what this meant, as I heard it said after every yoga practice. Because we are judgmental creatures, namaskar is a way of showing humility and love for other humans. It is something that we can continuously remind ourselves of, by incorporating namaskar into our every day manners. It shows a respectful manner and an understanding that everyone is different, but we must treat everyone with compassion.

    • Good points you raise here…if we feel at peace and one with ALL is it necessary that “we must treat” everyone with compassion…perhaps this is a place to start until one truly feels the organic link with all living beings, people, animals, plants, etc…then its not an act any longer…Namaste

  19. I often catch myself making quick judgements upon meeting someone or confronting a situation. It’s an innate quality in us that takes us away from the now. It doesn’t allow us to fully and truly experience someone or something in the present and takes away from our experience. Even if we later figure out our original judgement was wrong it still retracts from the full experience we should have. I had always been taught that bowing down was simply a sign of respect and was part of my own custom to do so with others around me. However, in the society we live in it isn’t looked upon kindly and seen as odd or out of place. Our society is very frontal with our greetings, facing off each other. It doesn’t allow us the chance to break from our judgements. By bowing it gives us the reminder that they too are a form of creation, that they are like you.

    -Lucia Meneses

    • I hope as you continue on your personal journey that you may find a way that is comfortable for you to express Namaste to others with your own invention…what about your weekly Isha kriya practice comments? OM

  20. I enjoyed reading this post as I am guilty of passing judgments upon meeting people. There is the alarming statistic that first impressions are made within 7 seconds of meeting someone, so reading this article of ways to be more aware of others was interesting. I do find it to be true that we hold the power of our cravings and needs within our hands, and if we hold them to our faces we can absorb the positive energies. Unfortunately I think people, myself included, get too caught up in day to day life and the way everyone else acts, that to look within ourselves and ask why we feel these emotions is a daunting task. I enjoy reading the articles on yoga as it is an examination into bettering myself and observing my flaws.

  21. I find it interesting that so many of these practices seem to be present in other “religions” or cultures. I did not know that the palms of the hands had the receptors that this article attributes to them, but interestingly, since I was brought up Catholic, this namaskar is very similar to the positioning of the hands during praying. I never gave a thought to why we put our hands together to pray but I’m going to assume that the practice has its roots in this same practice of namaskar.

  22. I was already somewhat aware of the purpose of Namaskar, but Sadhguru’s explanation makes it so much more meaningful. Judgement is something that no human is completely free from, no matter how non-judgemental they may claim to be, and Namaskar is a way to move past that to express humility, love, and oneness. The practice of placing your hands together balances your dualities, which I know is a goal of yoga practice overall (why we do poses on both the left and right sides). Like the above commenter, I agree that it is very interesting that the Namaskar gesture also exists in religious practices, such as the praying gesture in Christian religion. This just contributes to my feeling that all religions have the same ultimate goal: balance, humility, love, positivity and unity. While I do not personally adhere to any particular religion, I respect the good that it does for believers. I feel that my practicing of the Isha Kriya helps to elevate me to this spiritual level, and could therefore be considered an almost religious experience for me.

  23. This was very insightful as before I had no concrete knowledge as to what the namaskar actually was. To learn that it is more than just putting your hands together. To learn that it is a lowering of your ego, that it is essentially a peace offering to the people and things that have angered/upset you, is truly enlightening. I feel that from now on whenever I do the namaskar I will be able to bring in all the good energies that have accumulated throughout the yoga session and truly feel in harmony with myself and with the rest of the world.

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