OM: Why are we chanting?
28th February 2019 | RUTH STEEL
What is OM & What does it mean?
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted three times at the beginning and end of yoga practice. Originating from Hinduism, the #mantra is considered to have high spiritual and creative power but luckily, is a mantra that can easily be practiced & recited by anyone. It’s both a sound and a symbol potent in meaning and depth, when pronounced correctly it is said, AUM.
Aum consists of four syllables: A, U, M, and the silent syllable in between each three vibrational sounds.
The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged "AWE." The sound starts at the back of your throat and you stretch it out. You will start feeling your solar plexus and chest vibrating.
The second syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged “OO,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along your upper palate. You'll feel your throat vibrating.
The third syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged “MMMM” with your tongue lightly touching roof of mouth. You will now start to feel the lips & face vibrate.
The last syllable is the deep silence of the Infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, take your time & embrace your chant from the ‘M’ into the deep silence.
Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and it’s 3 main characteristics: (1) creation, (2) preservation and (3) liberation.
This may also be one of the reasons AUM is usually chanted three times followed by Shanti, Shanti, Shanti meaning, peace. Other reasons could include, balancing the three Doshas, Vata, Pitta & Kapha and the three worlds of the soul - past, present & future.
So WHY do we chant it?
Fascinating and geeky fact alert! Did you know that everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating – nothing is ever standing still, not even the ground we walk on! The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature.
Therefore, AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so, by chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
Furthermore, the vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical effect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind like the practice of meditation. When the mind is relaxed, your blood pressure decreases and ultimately the health of your heart improves. Think of it as a vocalised, healing #meditation.
Other amazing benefits include a release of stored stress/worry in the digestive system and a boost in self-worth & confidence as we open the throat chakra and find our voice.
Finally, it is also a way to separate the time of our practice from the rest of our day and indicate that this is a special time in which to care for our needs and practice being mindful, loving & kind to ourselves.
All in all, beginning and/or ending your yoga practicing with AUM helps to connects us to our practice in a deeper way than with simply Asana (moving postures) alone.
Ready to learn more?
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All my Love,