How To End A Yoga Class Without Saying Namaste?

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Men and women doing yoga salutation - How To End A Yoga Class Without Saying Namaste?

Saying “namaste” at the end of a yoga class is often seen as the normal route to go in westernized yoga culture. However, it has recently come to light that this is culturally appropriate. To avoid this, alternatives are necessary.

There are several ways you can end your yoga class without saying “namaste.” Some of your options include ending your class with a question or an affirmation. These alternatives maintain the same intention while not appropriating or potentially harming another culture.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can avoid upsetting others through some simple changes.


Is Saying Namaste in Yoga Cultural Appropriation?

Yes, saying “namaste” during a yoga class is cultural appropriation. The use of “namaste” is appropriated and misused in westernized yoga practices.

“Namaste” originates from the Sanskrit language. In Sanskrit, “namaste” is used as a greeting, usually in a formal context. However, in westernized yoga practices, it has been misconstrued as a goodbye with a religious or divine meaning behind it.

You might think that there is no harm in saying “namaste” in a westernized environment to a western audience, but it can be upsetting for participants when it is misused. It can also convey the sense that you don’t care about the culture of origin.


What Are the Alternatives in English?

Several alternatives to end your yoga class are available in English. With these phrases, questions, or affirmations, you can bring your class to peaceful closing as yoga should be.

The first and most simple option to end a yoga class would be to say thank you. With a simple thank you, you convey the same meaning you are going for when you say “namaste.”

You are thanking the teacher and students for being there. You thank everyone for putting in the effort as one in the class.

Another option to end a yoga class is asking questions for the students to consider as they go throughout their day. Affirmations or similar phrases in English are also good options.


Can You End a Yoga Class with a Question?

Yes, you can end a yoga class with a question. Posing a question to your students is an excellent alternative to saying “namaste.”

In addition, asking a question at the end of class gives something for people to consider throughout the rest of their day or week until the next class.

Questions you can pose should allow for reflection. This could be a reflection of life or just the class itself. Some examples of self-reflective questions could include things like:


  • What are you grateful for?
  • How can you make more time for yourself and self-care?


Some examples of class reflective questions could include:


  • What is your goal for this class?
  • What can you do to be more present during this class?


Questions should focus on positivity and improvement, not any negatives. Make them reflective. From these guidelines, you can come up with whatever questions you would like.


Positive Affirmations You Can Say Instead

Positive affirmations at the end of a yoga class are another great alternative to saying “namaste.” Positive affirmations are phrases that encourage positive thoughts or feelings within a person. It is also used to help challenge a negative mental state.

Positive affirmations can involve a wide range of topics but have a couple of things in common. In general, they should be short statements or phrases that are easy to repeat. In addition, they should focus on the positive.

Positive changes can be made by focusing on positive things already present in life. From there, it is simple to come up with phrases as well as use common ones such as ‘I am loved’ or ‘good things are coming my way.’


Are There Any Other Terms You Should Avoid Saying?

Several other terms often used in westernized yoga culture should also be avoided. Unfortunately, the most commonly used one that has been appropriated is the term “yogi.”

By the original definition, Yogis are masters of all forms of yoga. These people traditionally withdraw from society, leaving material things behind to focus on their practice. Yoga is originally a religious practice, and the term “yogi” reflects this.

Building off of this, avoid using ‘chants’ in Sanskrit. These are also often linked to the traditionally religious yoga practice.

It is disrespectful to use these terms when it is not from your culture or religion. Again, you most likely do not fully grasp the meaning and are using it incorrectly.


Final Thoughts on How To End A Yoga Class Without Saying Namaste

Westernized yoga practices are loosely based on ancient yoga practices from India. Originally, it was a religious practice with a lot of important cultures linked to it.

Because of how far derived westernized yoga is from its roots, you should avoid appropriating further from the culture. Western yoga teachers should avoid using terms linked specifically to religious practices.

Yoga teachers in the western context should not pretend to be something they are not. When in doubt, do your research and ask questions. Always do your best to be respectful and remember your roots.