During yoga teacher training this weekend, the conversation turned towards language (as it often does). I was asking the trainees if they would feel comfortable closing their classes by saying namaste. They unanimously agreed that they would not.
When I asked what they might use instead, they said that they thought the word I use -nerdmaste - was cute, but didn't really understand what it meant. If you've ever wondered about the traditional namaste or our non-traditional nerdmaste, this is for you.
Let's start with the meaning of namaste. In India, the word namaste is a greeting that conveys respect. When saying the word, it is traditionally paired with hands pressed and a small bow. The word literally translate to "I bow to you."
In the western yogic context, the word has taken on a more spiritual aspect, considered to mean "the divine in me honors the divine in you" (or similar). It is this definition that I think of when I say nerdmaste. Sure it is a silly play on words, but that doesn't mean it can't be resonant and meaningful as well.
To me, I am recognizing that we are all nerds in some way - our own way - sometimes similar or different from each other. But we are all deserving of respect and equity.
The nerd in me honors the nerd in you, friends.