The physical practice of Namaste yoga is not only a form of relaxation and exercise as often practiced today. It is meant to be, in its purest form, a prelude to meditation. Yoga is designed to clear the mind, the body and the heart and to meld them into a smoothly functioning being with the whole being better than the sum of its parts. The origins of yoga date back more than five-thousand years to the country of India. It did not arrive in the West until the 20th century. Neither a dogma nor a religion, yoga is all about connections within oneself and Namaste yoga is a beautiful, authentic expression of those connections.
Namaste is a traditional greeting from India, which can be loosely translated as "the divine within me greets the divine within you", and involves placing ones hands together, near the heart, and bowing ones head in greeting to another as a sign of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is often spoken when performing the gesture, the gesture itself is meant to signify Namaste.
Namaste has become associated with a style of yoga based on "Hatha Vinyasa" which means, again loosely translated, "moving with breath" and focuses on a harmonious merging of the mind and body with breathing. Namaste yoga is practiced in bare feet, as this will allow people to use their toes for balance and better root themselves to the floor.
This ancient practice reputedly helps to deepen ones self-understanding, connect a person with their own spirit, develop, and maintain such physical characteristics as strength and flexibility. Because Namaste yoga is not about how one looks, but rather how one feels, comparison to others is never a healthy practice. It does not subscribe to the "pain is gain" theory and one should always pay attention to what their body is telling them during practice and not go beyond their limits. Namaste Yoga teaches the cultivation of health, from the body to the spirit and beyond.
Some of the physical benefits of Namaste yoga are that it claims to aid in the body's ability to get a good night's sleep. It can decrease blood pressure, promotes cardio and circulatory health, improves respiratory systems, helps to balance the metabolism, grants additional energy and vitality, relieves pain, increases spinal flexibility, helps prevent illness and can help a person look and feel younger, and also creates a flexible, strong, toned body. Psychological benefits of Namaste yoga include an improvement in mood, the ability to release stress and better handle stressful situations; it encourages positive thought and improves learning efficiency, increases feelings of well-being, improves memory function and teaches a person how to quiet their mind and focus their positive energy.
It is important to be consistent when practicing Namaste yoga. Practicing a minimum of three times per week is recommended to receive the full benefits and feel the improvements in the body, mind and spirit. For those who are just beginning to practice Namaste Yoga, two times per week is an acceptable way to start. However often it is undertaken, beginning Namaste yoga offers any person a beautiful and enjoyable way to get in touch with one's inner self and as an added bonus, reap many rewarding health benefits.