Where I live, we kiss once on each cheek to say hello and goodbye.
I’m from a catholic family living on the island of Mauritius.
Kissing is a form of greeting I use in my personal life and in my professional life, I shake hands when I don’t know the person, plus I hug a lot in my yoga community.
NOTE: I don’t practice a religion, I prefer spirituality.
There are lots of forms of greeting that I’ve seen and heard, from an early age, in my multicultural and multireligious country. And we can salute each other without contact.
With the Corona virus disease or COVID-19, the bad news on the web (I don’t watch TV) and people coughing around, I’m drawn towards news ways of greeting.
On Sunday, while I was dropping my son for the afternoon at his best friends’ house, whose parents are huggers as well, I asked my boy: “Are you gonna hug them as usual? Maybe we should talk with them?”
When we arrived there, we all said “Hi” without the usual kisses and hugs and we dived immediately into the subject.
We had an open conversation and we all agreed to be in “Play safe” mode. So, no more hugs, kisses and high-five for now.
In uncertain times, we need to adapt, find solutions and adopt news behaviours.
So here are 5 non-contact ways of greeting someone when a contagious disease is out there:
# The “Hello/Hi/Good Morning” Salutations
We can simply use the formal ways of greeting by saying “Hello”, “Good Morning”, “Good afternoon” and “Good evening” without physical contact.
Please say the GOOD in the “Good morning”! When making it sound cooler, shorter and friendlier, the best part is omitted and we hear “Morning “or “Afternoon”.
Frankly, I prefer to be greeted by a “Good” than a “Morning” or an “Afternoon”. Same with the “Goodbye” which feels a bit outdated but has the word “Good” in it. 😉
Do you know words carry energy?
Adding a big smile 😊 to this way of greeting will compensate for the lack of warmth we usually get from physical contact.
#2 Hands in prayer at the chest or “Namaste”
I’ve practiced this gesture when I was praying and I presently do it in my yoga classes.
I’m a yoga and lifestyle coach. At the beginning of my yoga classes we bring our palms together to set an intention for the practice plus at the end of class we salute again doing the “Namaste”.
“Namaste” is a Hindu greeting that’s extensively used in the yoga community. In Sanskrit, it means “I bow to you”.
I’m super relaxed with this way of greeting another person. Plus, I love the beautiful meanings of the word “Namaste” which is translated as:
> The divine in me sees the divine in you.
> The divinity in me greets the divinity in you.
> The light in me recognizes the light in you…
I’ve made up my own definition of “Namaste” and you can use it if you like it:
“The light in me recognizes and celebrates the light in you”.
#3 Hand raised towards the person we greet
In the same way we salute from a distance or in a car, we raise our hand with relaxed fingers and we do it when we’re close to each other.
I call this one the “God/Goddess Salute”.
Maybe you’ve noticed the Hindu deities, Lord Shiva, Jesus or Buddha having their right hand (the hand that gives) raised and turned outward, at shoulder level. Fingers can be lightly spread like a sun or together.
In some pictures or sculptures, we see light coming out of the greeting hand. It spreading from the centre of the palm and it feels like it’s bestowing light, love and blessings upon all.
Every time I raise my hand to say “Hi” to a person, I imagine I’m a goddess sending good vibes and wishes. It makes me feel good to intentionally say hello this way.
#4 Hand at the heart gesture
Often, we’ll see Jesus with one hand on the heart and the other turned towards us. It seems to say: “I greet you from the loving space of my heart” or “My heart sees and acknowledges you” or “I’m sending you the purest form of unconditional love”.
Doing it like Jesus may be too much 😀 but we can simply place one hand on the chest at the heart level.
Like the “Namaste” there is a lot of humility and compassion in this hand at the heart gesture.
#5 Casual hand gestures or mudras
Getting a bit more hippie and relaxed there! 😀
Yes, the “Namaste” is a hand gesture called Anjali mudra. But we also have plenty of other hands signs we can use to greet people (See picture above). Some of them are:
> The Peace & Love Salute
Informal and definitely more appropriate to the people who resonates with a free unconventional lifestyle.
> The Hand Heart Gesture
This one is about forming a heart shape using fingers. The Hand Heart Sign is casual and popular in the young generation.
> The Shaka Sign or surfer’s friendly gesture
Also called “Hang Loose”, it’s associated with the surf culture and Hawaii.
Shaka sign consist of extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled.
In salutation you can present the front or back of the hand. You can also rotate the Shaka hand sign back and forth.
I like the Shaka sign. Even though I don’t know how to surf waves in the ocean, I do surf the waves of life. 😊
#6 Spiritual salutations or blessings
You can say a mantra which is a word with positive or spiritual power or send good wishes and blessings.
You can greet people you encounter in your personal life or at work with a positive sentence (universal or religious) like:
> God bless you.
> Love and light.
I remember I met lots of people saying or writing this, years ago. Most of them were coming back from self-development courses & workshops.
> Be blessed. Be safe. Be protected. Bless you…
> Peace to you. Peace upon you. Peace and Love.
I’ve recently discovered this one.
Coming from Africa, it means: “I am because you are. We are connected. We are humanity”.
> Om Shanti
Om shanti means “I am peace” or “I am peaceful”.
At the Brahma Kumari World Spiritual University, where I learned to meditate, they greet people coming to their spirituals centres by saying “Om Shanti”. And when they greet each other, the say & reply “Om Shanti” back. It’s a soul to soul connection and a kind of introduction and remembrance of who we are… Peaceful beings at our core, pure consciousness, spiritual being having an earthly experience…
“Om Shanti” means “I am peace” and “You are peace”.
I am a peaceful soul and I see and greet you as a peaceful soul.
Salaam is an Arabic greeting which means “Peace”.
I remember everyone was saying “Salaam” in place of “Goodbye” in my country when I was a kid. We should bring it back!
As mentioned above, “Namaste”is a hand gesture and a spoken greeting accompanying the gesture.
Now it’s your time to get creative and mix and match your preferred salutations or make up a new form of greeting.
You can choose a unique way to greet your family, your community, your clients…
As a business, you can also decide on a new greeting style that resonates with your company’s values, ethics and brand to salute each other and your customers in a personalized way.
I’m a solopreneur, an artist, a coach and a bit of a hippie who enjoy physical contact and hugs but for now, I’m taming my expansive nature and choosing to say “Hello” with a Peace and Love hand sign plus a smile.
In an office, you may have to behave in a more conventional way but I’m sure you can add your personal touch. 😉
So, let’s recap!
We can salute each other from the heart, with good intention and meaning without physical contact.
In challenging times of epidemic or pandemic and virus spreading on our planet Earth, it’s best to be cautious and stay safe.
Hopefully you presently have some inspiration to create new ways of greeting people without touching them. You can choose between inspiring salutations of the past and present coming from different cultures and countries or you can invent a new one! 😉
Maybe after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, there will be some changes in our way to greet each other.
Tell me what form of salutation you’ll use when meeting someone or do you have another way of greeting to share?
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