Namaste, Aloha, Shalom, Salaam

Kathy Krugerlove, peace, yoga7 Comments

This post is by way of saying ‘hello’ for a Friday (or whatever day you are reading this), but something more as well.

It’s an offering of peace, an acknowledgement that we are all the same, that we are all one. Namaste.

Our everyday hello’s and hi’s are often polite, passing greetings, flippant even, uttered with ‘how are you?’ questions, without any real concern for the answers.

When was the last time you greeted someone with a strong and genuine interest in how they REALLY are? When did you last enquire after someone with the time and attention to really listen to, and understand their response? When did you last respond in an honest and open way to a greeting?

We go through the greeting motions, often not even meeting each other in the eye – we may as well pass like the proverbial ships in the night for all the care we show each other.

And even at the end of a yoga class, when it comes time to honour our fellow yogis, we can find ourselves saying Namaste without really considering it’s true meaning.



Yesterday (Jan 2016 update, that would be 18 months ago) Little Yang’s friend gave him a kiss as he was leaving ‘play school’.  Sadly Little Yang was not all that impressed with his best boy friend’s gesture, although he does accept kisses from his best girl friend.

“I don’t like Lincoln kiss me.” “We not friends ever, ever, ever again,” was Little Yang’s indignant response.

I explained to Little Yang that it is perfectly OK, nice even, for friends to kiss each other, to care about each other. My four-almost six year-old remains unconvinced.

It got me thinking about how easily we substitute pleasantries for genuine care.

When we were going through infertility and I ached for a little human smile to greet me, I was heartened by the ‘Alaskan welcome’ I’d always receive from our dog Samson (sadly now gone to doggie heaven) – an Alaskan welcome being the jubilant, warm kind you might expect to receive after returning from a long, cold expedition into the Arctic Circle as opposed to a simple trip to the shops.

Samson never failed.

Now we don’t converse, we text. We send FB messages with smiley faces rather than facing each other with smiles. Virtual hugs are great, just not as good as real ones.

It is up to each of us to greet each other with warmth and with the understanding that we can never really know each other’s struggles, even when we are prepared to listen – but that we all struggle, just the same.

It is up to each of us to replace exchanging niceties with giving (and receiving) compassion.

Perhaps we can offer the warm Hawaiian welcome of Aloha (which means affection, peace, compassion and mercy – so much more than a trite ‘Howdy’).


Hello in Irish Gaelic is ia duit, pronounced “dee-ah gwitch” and literally means ‘God be with you”, while in Austrian-German “Grüßgott” translates as ‘Salute to God’.

Shalom (in Hebrew) means ‘peace’ (or peace, completeness, prosperity and welfare), which ironically sounds very similar in the Arabic greeting Salaam.


Photo courtesy

We are indeed one, despite our differences, as embodied in the meaning of the traditional yogic acknowledgement, Namaste.


And perhaps nothing beats a traditional Irish blessing for the schmaltz factor.

Irish Blessing

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Kathy KrugerNamaste, Aloha, Shalom, Salaam

7 Comments on “Namaste, Aloha, Shalom, Salaam”

  1. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Yes I agree that the virtual world seems to be taking over but at least it’s a way for those who can’t connect in person to feel connected, do you know what I mean!! Look forward to hugging you on Sunday! x

  2. Sarah Barrett

    I loved reading the differing meanings behind hello. Paying attention to my words and the words of others is so important and it something that I am mindful of. Also important is listening to what is not said, the classic example of course is “I’m fine”. Namaste, xS

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Sarah – somehow missed commenting back to you, sorry. You are very right about saying ‘I’m fine’ which is really just shutting off feelings and conversation.

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