mmmmm. this word, you guys.
for those of you who don’t practice yoga, you may be surprised at how downright biblical this word gets. 😉 if I’m being honest, at the core, that’s why I love Holy Yoga so much… the parallels in yoga to so many of the truths in Scripture are startling and eye-opening. “Namaste” is one of those.
I remember in 2011 when I went to India for a missions trip, we would often greet the native people in return with the response of “namaste” or “namaskar”. it’s a common Indian greeting which carries significant spiritual and cultural weight. it isn’t just the word either, it’s nearly always accompanied by the pressing together of one’s hands over one’s heart, and bowing forward gently.
it’s also a word and gesture that in western cultures has been contorted, or is just said by heated yoga-practicing white girls because that’s what their teacher concludes class with. (sorry.) if we’re honest, most of us (even some of us who do practice yoga) don’t know what this word means.
online Yoga Journal defines it this way: “The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us… The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.”
so here’s the thing. while, as Jesus followers, we certainly don’t believe that we ourselves are divine, we do believe that we are made in the image of God, or in other words, carry the signature of the One true Divine in the very core of who we are as humanity. this is why tragedy is tragic. this is why loss of life is so terrifying. (more on that here.)
how often do we forget this? how often do we allow careless words and judgement to come between us and others, forgetting Jesus’ words that “whatever you do for them, you do for me.” (paraphrased) how often do we treat our fellow humanity like nuisances to be ignored or creatures to be judged?
how often would we do this if we truly remembered that they are Image-bearers? how often would we sin against one another if we constantly acknowledged the Divine spark, the Image of God in the faces of those we interact with?
Namaste is our reminder that we have all been created in His image, that we are all walking resemblances of our Creator, however tainted and torn it has become. Namaste is the word that brings us back to the basic belief that God so loved the world… and that we are called to do the same. Namaste is the gesture that nudges us to make ourselves low, to humble ourselves because we all bear the same image, and none of us is better than another.
So when your next class ends, and the teacher bows her gentle “Namaste”, look around you and soak in His image. look around you and walk in love towards humanity. look around you and be gentle in love and firm in truth and bold in your very soul because you bear the image of the Divine.