Since 2003, it’s been my job to come up with a new weekly theme to teach over the course of my weekly yoga classes. These themes are meant to (hopefully) inspire the students, and me. Since my awareness is quite spongy, ideas come from everywhere: books, movies, quotes, snippets of conversations I have—or hear (eavesdropper!), from thoughts that have been growing and evolving to the point of ripeness, and from those that seem to spring from the center of my brain, unbidden and grown up. Some ideas are half-baked and take a while to fully form, and some arrive almost too quickly, pouring through the trap door in my brain so fast that I cannot write with enough speed to capture their full essence. And some I return to, again and again, to refresh and remind myself—and others—of their meaning. So that’s what I’m doing this week: refreshing.

The Sanskrit word “Namaste” is a regular word in my vocabulary, and in the vocabulary of yoga students everywhere. As a matter of fact, it’s so well known in our popular culture that it’s often said in a way that is devoid of meaning, or meant to poke fun at yoga culture itself. Now, I’m not above poking fun right where it needs to be poked, but I want to elevate and—dare I say it—protect words that feel sacred to me. Namaste feels that way.

At the end of class, we touch our palms together in front of our hearts and bow to one another as we say this word, which essentially means, “The Light in me bows to the Light in you.” In other words, my heart sees your essence, recognizes it, and honors it. It feels profoundly simple and profoundly deep at the same time. And when I remember what I am saying and why, my affection, my appreciation, and my devotion to everyone in my presence rings in every cell of my being. There’s a little voice inside that says, “Remember this.”

There are a lot of things I do and say that, when I’m not paying attention, become routine, rote, or unremarkable. Every once in a while it’s important to me to remember the why, and to let the seed of that knowledge replant and unfold itself in me in an entirely new way. Here’s to refreshing and remembering.

Happy New Year. Namaste!

Posted by: Beth Award

Neighborhood Studios