Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Mystery of Namasté & Yoga Blessings

For many years, I attended a yoga class where the teacher would close our practice by joining her hands together and saying, “Namasté”. We all sat quietly and then class was done. I eventually discovered that I was not alone; I don't think any of us in that class knew what Namasté meant, no one knew to return the greeting, and the instructor never told us. She was a very good instructor, don't get me wrong; she just assumed that many of us were smarter than we actually were.

Today, in the Wikipedia world, one can find the meaning of most anything quite quickly. But those were slower times and so we wondered.

By the way, I define “Namasté” as “The divine within me bows to the divine within you.”

It's sort of like a sacred “Aloha” greeting -- it can mean hello or goodbye.  

But, it's much more than that, since it looks much deeper and with great respect to the person being addressed.  In this greeting we see beyond the physical, we bow to the purest essence of the person before us.  That's the light that resides at one's heart.  I sometimes like to say that Namasté means, "I can see past your bad hair day and all the stresses and strains you endure, to see and honor the true, beautiful and vibrant you inside."

So, my first suggestion today is for yoga instructors to not assume that their students know what they’re talking about. Sanskrit is a beautiful sacred language. But, a bit of translation can help those sacred words blossom more fully in a student’s heart. 

And, now ... to practice what I preach. I’ve been closing recent classes with a loving yoga blessing. I offer the translation in class as well. But, in the off-chance that someone actually wanders through this blog (aside from my journeys through looking for typos), I offer it here. It’s a beautiful blessing and it inspires my practice.

Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
There are many translations from the very simple “May all be happy” to very long and detailed translations. But, here’s the one that I like best:

“May the universe be filled with peace and joy, love and light.”
And, just to muddy the waters further (which I’ll leave as a challenge for true Sanskrit scholars, not a novice like me), many, many sacred Sanskrit words don’t translate easily. They are deeply felt but don’t easily translate to words. There are many Sanskrit blessings and prayers that are offered with myriad translations that are all over the map. Sometimes, a Sanskrit scholar will admit a word or blessing defies true translation at all. And, that is why a Sanskrit blessing may do better when pulled out of your brain and instead planted in the loving garden of your heart.

Another beautiful Yoga blessing comes from the sacred Bhagavad Gita.  I call this blessing "Be Fearless & Pure" ... and you can find it here:  Be Fearless & Pure

I like to share other blessings in my Yoga classes from time to time, and when I think about it, I add them to this blog.  To find them all in one place, just click on my Meditations & Blessings link:  Yoga Meditations & Blessings

Or, even better, LIKE Peaceful Hands on Facebook, where I regularly post Yoga blessings and other information on the healing benefits of Yoga.  Here's the link: Peaceful Hands on Facebook


2015 Update: I'm delighted to invite you to visit my new website:  You'll find these blessings, Yoga inspirations, and more ... Thank you for visiting!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer Yoga Retreat ~ Saturday, June 27

Enjoy a Yoga "Mini Retreat" to celebrate the beginning of Summer and to refresh the body, mind, and spirit.

The Summer Retreat will be held:

Saturday, June 27, 2009
8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Peaceful Hands Yoga Studio
145 Byrd Street in Orange, Virginia

The day will include yoga to help cool and balance our internal energies as we open to the sunshine and heat of the summer. There will also be time for learning a self-massage practice, guided meditation, reflection, and we'll reap the wonderfully restorative energy of our shared yoga practice.

Spending an extended period of time with your yoga and meditation can be a wonderful way to inspire your personal practice and refresh your internal energy.

The heavy heat and humidity of Virginia summers can sap our energy. With an Ayurvedic focus, we’ll do yoga that will balance our internal energies with coolness and lightness.

I know that summer is a busy time for people, so I will only hold this retreat if there are enough people signed up. Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested.

Our Orange yoga studio is a sacred space for yoga and meditation. It is also a small space, so there is very limited space available for this retreat. Register early to ensure your spot.

The cost is $45 for the retreat. SPECIAL: For students who are currently registered in either my Madison or Orange spring yoga session, the cost is $40.

I hope you will join us for this lovely way to celebrate the sun and the energy of summer! For information or to register, contact me here at peacefulhands (at) or call me at 540-672-9528.

June Meditation Schedule

"The principal characteristic of genuine happiness is peace ... inner peace." ~ The Dalai Lama

Come cultivate your garden of inner peace with us. Meditation Practice will be at Peaceful Hands Yoga Studio on the following dates in June:

  • Sunday, June 7
  • Sunday, June 21
Practice is held at 5:00 p.m. at Peaceful Hands Yoga Studio, 145 Byrd Street in Orange, Virginia. (Park in the side lot, and come in the front doors ... and follow the signs.)

Our practice includes guided meditation, a brief reading, walking meditation, and a quiet sitting practice and lasts about an hour. No previous experience is necessary, just an open heart and the desire to find stillness within.

Bringing our joined quiet energy together can be a wonderful, heart-warming experience. (We have pillows for floor-sitting and chairs available. Or bring your favorite meditation cushion.)

There is no cost to attend, but donations are gratefully accepted to help cover expenses at the studio. For more info click on "meditation" on the right-hand column under "Topics", and, for studio directions click on "General Yoga Class Info." Or, email me at peacefulhands (at) or call 540-672-9528 if you'd like more info.