A Word About Namaste

Updated: Sep 15

You may have noticed that some of the teachers here have stopped closing their public classes with Namaste, and you may be wondering why. Some of you are even asking me/us, so I thought I would share a little bit about it with you. This post is for the students and friends of The Bhaktishop, who may have questions or be curious about these topics.

There have been a lot of conversations lately, both here and in the wider world, about some of the ways that Western yoga culture has seemed to co-opt many of the ancient practices and teachings of yoga for its own benefit, often divorcing the practices that we like/accept/appreciate/understand from their source traditions in the name of “not making people feel uncomfortable” with a “foreign” practice. While no one here is an expert by any stretch, we do try to have difficult conversations as they are necessary, and to challenge the ways that our own thinking has been affected by biases, both known and implicit. This is one such moment, where we as a teaching community have been having a lot of internal conversations about using Namaste as the closing at the end of our classes, whether or not it feels appropriate, and who gets to decide that.

In the great spirit of transparency and collaboration, we recently decided to have a teacher’s conversation about some of the things that have been shared with us by our mentors and yoga teachers on this topic, as well as with friends and trusted confidants from the South Asian community, and to make space for us all to discuss this and have conversations as a yoga community.