Published on November 6th, 2017 | by Catherine Tingey0
What Does Om Mean in Yoga
What Does Om Mean in Yoga
We’re all familiar with the stereotype — a room full of hippies, incense and the sound of OM. Offputting to some, welcoming to others, regardless of how you feel about chanting, there’s more to this mysterious word than you may think.
ORIGINS of OM
The word OM, often written as Ohm or Aum, is considered a sacred, primordial sound. It’s been described as the sound of the creation of the universe, the sound of silence, and the matrix of all sounds. OM is also considered a stand alone mantra that begins and ends yoga classes.
The first written mention of OM can be found in the Upanishads, a spiritual Sanskrit text dating roughly to the 7th-6th century BCE. The Upanishads contain the tenets of Hinduism and are central to Indian philosophy.
ELEMENTS OF OM
The sound OM is actually comprised of 3 tones: A- U- M, which represent the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states respectively (left).
BENEFITS OF CHANTING OM
Stay with me here…this is the good stuff.
On a purely mechanical level, chanting OM regulates breathing.
In order to produce the sound of OM, the tongue must be rolled, the lips tense, and the belly used as a bellows to gradually expel air out the mouth. This simple act can reverse decades of shallow breathing due to stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.
On a spiritual level, chanting OM can connect you to the inner self and clear obstacles from your life’s path.
How it works, I can’t really tell you but I’m sure a quantum physicist could explain it better. We know that our bodies are made of vibrating matter and we’ve all had a taste of what it feels like to have a good ‘vibe’ with someone, or a situation. Some say that the sound of OM creates a vibrational frequency of 432 Hz, which is also the same vibrational frequency found in nature.
I can personally attest that through chanting OM, I feel an almost instant calm and connection to something greater than my self. Feelings of separateness dissolve.
Separateness – the sense that our trials are ours alone to bear – is the root of all suffering, so conversely, connection – first to the higher self, and then to others – is the path to enlightenment.
Some of my clients enjoy chanting OM at the beginning or end of their sessions. Others are simply not interested. It’s not something I ever push but even if you’re averse to spirituality, religion, ritual or religiosity (all of which I know can be repellant), I urge you to just try chanting OM either solo, or the next time you’re in a yoga class, or even in traffic.
This is a very powerful and profound sound!
In Love & Light,