why do we chant om in yoga

WHAT IS OM? You re sitting in yoga class and the teacher invites everyone to chant a round of Om together. Ever wonder what it means or why we do it? You re not alone. For many it can seem uncomfortable or foreign. By knowing what it means and why you re chanting it can make a big difference in your yogic experience. Describing what Om is and why we do it is a bit difficult because it s a vague concept that goes beyond definition. It s something that requires experience to understand, otherwise it can feel a bit meaningless. Let s begin by dispelling some of the confusion and mysteries surrounding the practice of chanting Om. Om is a Sanskrit term that translates as source or supreme. However it s not the meaning that is most important to the chanting yogis. The sound vibration of the word is most important. You experience Om more than just saying it.


Om is that mysterious aspect of all life that cannot be summed up by words. PIt is everything. All in existence. It s the seed of all creation; like how a seed holds the power and energy of an entire plant within itself. This small sound contains the meaning of the universe. Some have said that recordings of the vibrations that Earth makes in space can sound a bit like Om but that s really up for you to decide. Even though Om sounds like one sound it really can be broken down into three (and even four) parts. Ahhh represents the start of the universe, creation, and birth. The sound vibration itself is produced at the back of the throat. The vibration can be felt Pdeep into the abdomen. This vibration brings you in connected awareness of your creation and your true essence. Ooooh represents the energy of the universe, or life.


It connects us to the sense that deep within us there is something more beyond what we can see or hear. Chanting this sound, the vibration moves from the back of the mouth to the middle, resonating on the palate. Mmmm -represents transformation or death. The transformative energy of the universe that brings you to a state of oneness with all creation. The vibration of this sound is made at the lips, vibrating the crown of the head
Silence Often considered the fourth sound in Om the silent but very real energy that resonates after the room finishes the chant. This represents the experience of pure consciousness. WHY DO WE CHANT IT? For the first year I practiced yoga, I often asked myself this question: why do we start and end some of our classes with "om"? Over the past several years, I have found that there are many good reasons for this practice.


All the students have come from their own unique experiences, with their unique thoughts and their unique moods, to share a common space for yoga practice. Chanting Om in unison is a way to focus the group s energy, to bring everyone to the same page. Often the chanting sounds a bit ragged to start, but then individuals adjust their voices to each other s until one powerful, coherent sound emerges. This sets the stage for students to work in harmony on many different levels throughout the coming class. But then, why the mantra Om? Why not whoopee or hello? Om is considered to be the primal, omnipresent sound of the cosmos. Astrophysicists have discovered that there is a certain vibration that permeates the entire universe - if we could hear that sound, say the ancient yogis, that sound would be "Om".


Physiologically, the sound om starts back in the throat and travels through the mouth to end at the lips with the m sound. Thus om is said to encompass all the sounds that human beings can make. Another, deeper meaning of this mantra, sometimes spelled aum, relates to levels of consciousness. The a sound represents waking, u dreaming, and m deep sleep. All those sounds combined symbolize the integration and transcendence of these different levels of being. Regardless of meaning, the use of Om is very traditional and is a way for us to tie our efforts to the countless generations who have sought higher knowledge. Yoga students all over the world chant om, so with this simple syllable we can reach a degree of unity with them. And unity is, after all, what yoga is truly about.

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