Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the light in me sees the light in you

Anyone who has been to a yoga class has heard this word, namaste.  It happens to be that I have been thinking about this word quite a bit over the past few days and weeks. Likely because I have finished my official teacher training, with just a few hours to spend with Fred in the studio left before I'm unleashed on the yoga world. As I finished this part of my yoga journey I found that I wanted to thank those around me and the word namaste kept coming to mind. Some of you may have seen the picture and note that I posted on facebook thanking all my teachers and fellow yogis:
To all of my amazing yoga teachers and those who have shared the mat with me: You each bring a wonderful light into my life. I am eternally greatful for each and every one of you and all that you give to me through your words, actions, and thoughts. I would have never made it through teacher training without your love. I say to each of you with the deepest sense of gratitude, namaste.

When I first started practicing I said namaste because that's what yoga people do. At the end of class you say namaste. I was told the basic definition "the light in me, honors, recognizes, and loves the light in you", or something close to that. I was satisfied with that definition for a long time. I've heard some variations over the years, but that is the heart of it.

I've been bopping around the Internet looking for other meanings, deeper meanings and I ran across an article today (how convenient!). The definition I liked the most was this one:

As my journey has taken me deeper, both into the asana practice and also into the other limbs of yoga, namaste has taken on something greater.  Maybe greater isn't the right word, but truer. I actually do recognize that light in those around me.  My yogis truly bring a light into my life in a unique way that I have never before experienced.

Let me break it down for you non-sweaty people.  Those of us who spend hours on the mat, sweating, wearing spandex, discussing natural deodorant, and the best brand of kombucha, share something.  Something deeper than general sweaty stinkyness (we do have that too).  I have found that these are the people who greet me with a hug every time they see me.  These are the people who look at me differently than anyone else in my life.

There is something very particular about the way yoga people look and speak to each other.  Something that made me uncomfortable when I was new to this world. Yoga people speak close.  They are in your personal space and they touch you.  No regard for the fact that you have been sweating your asana off.  And, they look right into your eyes.  Not in the make eye contact in a job interview sort of way, in the I'm really listening to you and understanding you way.  Its a little scary at first, because we spend most of our time not doing that or just looking at people in a cursory way.

So why do yogis get so close and look so deep? I think it comes back to namaste. If you aren't looking deep how could you possibly see the light in someone else?  By looking deeply into those around us we are able to see the light that shines from them and we are able to acknowledge how much we love them for that.  We look deep to see the light in others, because that light is a reflection of the light within ourselves.


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