Namaste is a respectful, kind greeting for people when they meet and when they part. It's just like saying "Aloha" in Hawai'i, and expresses sincere happiness and thoughtfulness. The origin of Namaste is Sanskrit and means "I bow to you." It's a gesture that people use in Southeast Asia, India, and beyond. When people say "Namaste" they press their palms together, fingers pointing up and bow. It's a polite way of honoring our friends, family, and strangers. It's a way to peacefully say "hello friend."
Aloha means peace, compassion, mercy, and love. It's another form of saying "hello" or "goodbye."
When we teach yoga to children, we teach them about gratitude and peace. Sure, yoga is a great workout for kids and helps strengthen their muscles and hearts. And yoga is also about respect and compassion for each other and our world around us. One of the ways in which we share this idea is through a greeting at the beginning and a farewell at the end, honoring and thanking each other for our uniqueness and love that we share.
There are many poems and sayings about Namaste, but one that I love and learned from a friend and great yoga instructor is this:
"The light in me, shines within you. Namaste." by Amy Ragan