Om is a mantra or vibration, chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions.
It is known as the ‘monarch of all mantras’ since all mantras originate from it. It prefixes some mantras and represents the Supreme God Principle (Parabrahman).
Coming from the Hindu Yoga tradition, the mantra is deemed to have high spiritual and creative powers. That said, anyone can recite this mantra. It’s both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth. When pronounced correctly, it is actually AUM.
Aum actually consists of four (4) syllables: A, U, M, and the silent syllable.
- 1st syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged “awe.” The sound starts at the back of your throat and you stretch it out. You start feeling your solar plexus and chest vibrate.
- 2nd syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged “oo,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along your upper palate. You feel your throat vibrate.
- 3rd syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm” with your front teeth gently touching. You now start to feel the top of your vibrate.
- 4th syllable is the deep silence of the Infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, you have to merge your chant from the ‘M’ to the deep silence.
Symbolically, the three (3) letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and its three (3) main characteristics…creation, preservation and liberation.
Why do we chant Aum?
Everything in the Cosmos pulsates and vibrates; nothing really stands still! The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at a frequency of 432 Hz, the same frequency found throughout everything in nature.
As such, AUM is the basic sound of the universe. Thus, by chanting it, we are symbolically and physically tuning into that sound,acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
In addition, the vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical affect on the body by slowing down our nervous system and calming the mind similar to meditation. When your mind is relaxed, your blood pressure decreases and ultimately your heart health improves.
Finally, it’s a way to delineate the time of our practice from the rest of our day and signify that this special time is one in which we care for ourselves and practice being mindful
All in all, beginning and ending your yoga practice with AUM helps you connects to your practice in a much deeper way than with physical postures alone.