Complete Guide: How to Teach the Use of Namaste to your Kids

Kids learning yoga

For centuries, the word namaste has been used in many cultures across the globe. If you practice yoga, you probably heard the famous word at the end of your yoga class, but what’s its origin? Furthermore, is it possible to teach its meaning to your kids? How to approach yoga education for young kids? Here are a few ideas that will help you achieve this.

What’s the Origin of Namaste?

Generally speaking, the word namaste is used as a form of traditional greeting. In India, it is normally used by Buddhists and Hindus with a hand gesture. How do you perform a namaste hand gesture you may ask? Follow the steps below:

  • First and foremost, hold your body straight and face towards the person you want to greet.
  • Now, press both of your hands together, with the fingers mirroring each other, with the back of your hand touching your chest.
  • Finally, gently bow your hand toward the person you are greeting.

It’s as simple as that! You can repeat these steps almost as a mini-game with your little ones. To make it more appealing, you can ask them to say the word namaste with you, and see if they have learned the gesture properly.

Handshake Vs Namaste Gesture

Some people also use the namaste gesture in silence, which is totally normal. This is common in Asian countries and is the best way to show respect to a superior in a company for example. This tradition is still to this day widely used, but in Western countries, the handshake is the tradition being prominent in business settings and even in more casual settings as well.

The one advantage that the namaste gesture has over the handshake, especially during this COVID virus pandemic, is that it doesn’t require anybody to touch hands. Of course, that wasn’t really a problem a few years ago, but nowadays, we need to think twice before shaking the hand of someone else.

On the other hand, the handshake has this connection moment where a lot of recruiters can feel if the person is confident or not. After an interview, a weak handshake with the interviewee looking away means that maybe this person is not the right fit for the job, and vice versa.

How do you pronounce Namaste?

If you are planning on teaching yoga classes to young children, then you know how important it is to make sure they understand not only the meaning of the word, but also how to say it.

The word in itself is easy to pronounce, even for younger kids. It is indeed pronounced the same way as it is written:

  • Na
  • Mas
  • Te (pronounced as ‘tay’)

Before they can say the word in unison, you can teach them how to place their palms against their chest. This is a fun gesture that can help them focus from the beginning to the end of the class, as they will look forward to making the gesture with the others.

The namaste hand gesture is close to the chest because it is a way to connect your body, your heart, and your spirit together. When the word namaste resonates across the room, you can feel a soft but yet very strong presence of selflessness, respect, and accomplishment. All that being said, teaching the latter information to kids can be tricky, it’s better to keep it simple, at least for a while until they become older.

Does Namaste mean the same thing in every culture?

For starters, we have to acknowledge the cultural appropriation of the word namaste, especially when it is used by Westerners at the end of a Yoga class. The words originally came from the Sanskrit language, and its literal definition is “bowing to you”. In Japan, the word namaste is also used sometimes in a similar context, although the word Konnichiwa is the most common word used to greet people.

The Use of Namaste in Yoga

Although it is just a very small part of the end of a yoga session, the meaning of the action behind the word namaste is very powerful. Saying the word with your young students can help connect with them, as long as it is done in a respectful way.

A good trick to elevate the importance of the word with kids is to make namaste wall art or decor with them. That way, you are also appealing to the creative side of your children, and they will be even more excited to come to the class if they have their namaste art project up on the wall.

As you can see, the word namaste can take many forms and can become a focal point for your group. However, just be careful and thoughtful in the process, we wouldn’t want to abuse the use of the tradition either.

How to use Namaste while practicing with kids

To make sure that kids understand what namaste is and to practice the gesture, below we listed 4 namaste facts for kids that you can easily repeat to children:

  • Namaste is a greeting that is used in Asian countries
  • Namaste is a bit like saying hello and goodbye in English, but this word is also more than that! It can also help you to connect with your spirit.
  • When you say namaste, you are praising and giving respect to the person receiving your namaste greeting.
  • The word means ‘bowing to you’ when translated into English.

If you repeat these 4 facts often enough, it should be easy to remember the word after a few sessions. Nevertheless, more questions may arise from these but that is the beauty of teaching kids, there is always a sense of exploration of the unknown.

In Conclusion

We hope this guide will help bring a positive outlook to your kid’s classes of yoga. Just remember, be patient and keep everything as simple and fun as possible so the kids keep wanting more, and especially, to come back to their yoga teacher.


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