Namaste: Let’s Keep It After the Pandemic

man holding palms together saying namaste


This non-touch method of saying hello and goodbye is something you should continue even after it’s deemed okay to hug again.

As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, uncertain but hopeful for the future, many of us are reflecting on how things will be different when the social distancing, mask-wearing, and isolation end. What lessons are we learning? What habits are we changing? What resolutions and promises are we making? One change worth maintaining after the pandemic is the way we greet one another and bid adieu. To replace handshakes and hugs, many people, both on Zoom calls and in person, have adopted the Indian custom of bringing their palms together at the chest and bowing. Whether or not we keep this up after we start touching again might seem trivial, but we stand to benefit from it more profoundly than we can imagine. One reason to greet one another Indian style, of course, is to prevent the spread of disease. Hand hygiene has been ignored by us grabbers and shakers, but historians say that Eastern cultures have understood its importance for eons. Frequent handwashing—with ash, mud, or soil in the days before soap— has always been a cultural norm, especially before eating, performing religiou …

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Philip Goldberg

Philip Goldberg is an author and public speaker. His latest book, Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to...

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