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Unknown“We must make a connection with ourselves and others through reverence” Manorama

 This month we wanted to focus on Namo, a sanskrit word meaning I bow, homage, reverence or respect. We had the pleasure of taking our yoga teachers in training to see Manorama. She is a sanskrit teacher and a great inspiration to me. She reminded us that one of the fundamental principles of yoga is respect.  Namo is usually used  in conjunction with other words. For example, you have probably done a sun salute in a yoga class, possibly referred to as  surya namaskar, respect and reverence to the sun.  You have most likely heard a teacher or another student use Namaste to end a class or to greet students. We hear namo namah  or namostuste in lots of chants to different guru’s and deities. The root word namo  is the common thread, respect or reverence.

 “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.” Dalai Lama

 What is Respect?  We can look at respect for yourself, or your body. Respect for the practice of yoga itself and your time on the mat. Respect for your elders, teachers, guru’s, and the people who made you who you are today. When we think about what we are grateful for, we can see that we are not able to do anything alone. Not really. Even a simple act like eating breakfast has been supported by many people. The earth, the farmer, the company that processed my food, and my husband who cooked it for me in the morning. I am grateful for my breakfast, and that helps me to feel respect for all the people, and things, involved in making it.

 In yoga we believe we are all one. That union is key to enlightenment.  Part of that is being able to treat difference with respect. We may not agree with someone or something, but maybe we can find a way to be respectful in our opposition. Yoga encourages us to create community. To build up the people around us.  Next time you have an interaction with someone, try seeing things from their point of view. Look for what you have in common. Try to discuss your differences from a place of love and respect and see what happens. In my experience, a lot can be learned from human to human interaction.  Arguing and criticizing a person, an idea, or a group on social media really get’s us no where. There is not a respectful dialog going on, instead we are just bulling each other.

 “To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.” Bono

 When we treat ourselves and others with respect, we are also working on non-harming, or ahimsa. Start to notice where you find respect in your life and where you don’t. See if you can bring out a more respectful reality by encouraging respectful interactions in your day to day life.  Or as Manorama would say…. “watch where you spend your prana.”

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