Ever since I taught my first yoga class and ended it with the expected "namaste," I could feel myself cringe. Those words coming out of my mouth didn't feel right. They didn't feel earned. I didn't know much about the meaning. I didn't feel anything behind saying it. I don't talk like that. I never even use that word except at the end of a yoga class.
Did I have to end class with it? I thought and assumed that it was expected for a yoga teacher to wrap up classes with namaste, prayer hands, and a bow...but those are things that just didn't feel true to me. It felt fake. Inauthentic. Forced. And it just didn't feel like me.
But I continued on for the next few years, ending my classes with"namaste" because I was a yoga teacher and that's what you do. It is what you are "supposed" to do.
A few years into my teaching I started exploring different ways of wrapping up classes, allowing myself to create a class that was more me. For starters, I loved the feeling of having my hands flat on my heart at the end of class, so I started to give that option. Then I started reading more about cultural appropriation of yoga and decided to do a little research on "namaste" here.
Susanna Barkataki wrote a great article about the meaning of Namaste and how it is used in yoga classes and alternative ways to end class. Since Namaste never felt authentic to me, this was the moment I decided to make a change.
Additionally, it led me to explore this idea of "supposed to." Who says I have to teach my class a certain way and end it a certain way? That's the beauty of humanity. We are all completely different and no one does anything the same as someone else. Thats the beauty of different teachers; they teach differently. My yoga class is taught by me and I am not Hindu or Indian and "Namaste" is not a word that I use in everyday language, so I dropped it. It's that simple. I still thoroughly enjoy it coming from various teachers from time to time, but I recognized that it was not something that I felt that I had earned the right to say and was happy to leave to someone else.
So I wish you peace, love, and freedom.