Commonly written "Namaste", it is pronounced as "Namastay" with the first two a's as the first a in "America" and the ay as in "stay", but with the t pronounced soft with the area just behind the tip of the tongue pressing against the upper-front teeth with no air passing (as the t in "tamasha").
Source: Newsgroups: soc.culture.indian,alt.religion.hindu, alt.fan.jai-maharaj,hawaii.nortle, alt.religion.vaisnava From: email@example.com (Dr. Jai Maharaj) Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 22:26:20 UTC
What does Namaste mean?
At the end of each yoga class most teachers bring their hands together in front of the heart, bow their head and say "Namaste" and the students bring their hands together and respond in kind. Have you ever wondered exactly what Namaste means? A good definition of Namaste would be "I bow to your true self". The true self might be seen as the deeper, more essential you, less connected to ego, social expectations and pretensions. So the exchange of Namaste at the end of class is a wonderful way to honor the true self in each of us, and recognize that all life is interrelated. For a more in depth explanation take a look at this piece in Wikipedia or a shorter piece in Yoga Journal.
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.
We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.
For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.
Ideally, Namaste should be done both at the beginning and at the end of class. Usually, it is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.
Recognized as one of the world's top yoga teachers, Aadil Palkhivala began studying yoga at the age of seven with B.K.S. Iyengar and was introduced to Sri Aurobindo's yoga three years later. He received the Advanced Yoga Teacher's Certificate at the age of 22 and is the founder-director of internationally renowned Yoga Centers™ in Bellevue, Washington. Aadil is also a federally certified Naturopath, a certified Ayurvedic Health Science Practitioner, a clinical hypnotherapist, a certified Shiatsu and Swedish bodywork therapist, a lawyer, and an internationally sponsored public speaker on the mind-body-energy connection.
Namaste comes from the Sanskrit word namah te. Namaste is pronounced Nam-a-stay. In Sanskrit namah means "bow, obeisance, reverential salutation, adoration". Te is the durative of the personal pronoun tvam, "you". A literal translation of Namaste (namah te) is thus "reverential salutation to you." It is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with the hands pressed together, palms touching, in front of the chest called Gassho.
So as you can read, there are a lot of interpretations but they all mean basically the same thing. Yoga is so beneficial to one's body. Go online and learn more about it and then give it a try.