Honoring June 21, the U.N. International Day of Yoga

Reprinted from Light on Light Magazine

Namaste is a traditional greeting in India used when people meet. It is often used as a way to end a meeting as well. Although it originates in India, Namaste has come to be used throughout the world. Much of this can be attributed to the study of Yoga. It is important to remember Namaste is not meant as a casual greeting but was given by ancient Wisdom Teachers as a means to show students deep respect for their Teachers and the Teachings and as an expression mindfulness of others. It uses recognition and acknowledgment of the Divine within each of us. In so doing- the person places his or her hands at the heart Charka in prayer fashion and expresses that acknowledgement.

Although it is normally thought to be a greeting... Unlike the word hello or goodbye in English, the word Namaste it is actually showing respect towards others and is a reminder of who we all are. In Sanskrit, the word namah means -to bow and te - to you. Meaning “that part of me which is Divine is bowing to the Divinity in you.” Meeting another person, is really the recognition of souls not personalities. When we greet one another with Namaste, it is a way of honoring and remembering that Divinity within each of us.

“We are spiritual beings having a human experience”
Imagine a world where that was truly understood by all.

I can clearly remember my mother taking me to the United Nations for the very first time. I was twelve years old so she gently impressed upon me that this was a very special place where people from all over the world came together to help each other. She encouraged my interested in learning who they were because as she said the world is filled with interesting people with wonderful traditions, clothing, languages, foods... She told me we had so much to learn from each other. It filled me with excitement. She instilled in me the very thing the United Nations represents.

I have had tea with Mrs. Indra Gandhi in her garden at her home in New Delhi and with the members of the Royal family in Nepal. I often recall that once while walking on a road in Nepal I met a group of Nomads and their goats along the road. They invited me for tea and we all (including the goats) went into their large tent to have tea. We could not speak a word of each other's language but we had a wonderful time. The ladies showed me their jewelry and children... the men laughed.

My teacher came looking for me calling my name and I announce that I was in the tent. When I came out he wanted to know how it was possibly for me to be visiting there and I explained to him whose children belong to who etc. making the introductions.

I think of that experience often and I am reminded of the words of Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Wooden Ships” where they sing....

“If you smile at me I will understand, cause that is something everybody, everywhere does in the same language.”

How wonderful that the UN recognizes Yoga and has dedicated a portion of time each year to do so in support of the evolution of consciousness - giving voice to transformational exchanges that meet the challenges of these troubled times.