Why Om?

You may have noticed that at most classes at Yoga Unlimited, we begin and end the practice with a chant of three “OM”s. Have you wondered why this is? If so, we’d like to explain.

At the beginning of a practice, we all find ourselves arriving from different circumstances with varying points of focus and the chant of “OM” is a way for everyone in the room to unite their energy. It’s a great way to leave the rest of your day behind and create some space and time for yourself. If you prefer not to chant out loud, that’s absolutely fine. You can choose to repeat the words silently to yourself or to simply to enjoy the voices of your classmates.

At the end of a practice, we chant “OM” to make the transition back into the rest of our day. You may notice that using your voice helps to reinvigorate your body and mind after the quiet of relaxation.

The Sanskrit depiction of “OM” can be broken down into “A”, “U”, “M” and a symbol representing resonance. These four aspects come together to create a meditative effect throughout the body. As you open your mouth wide to pronounce “A”, the sound originates in the belly and is felt in the open throat. The sound then changes to “U”, resonating in the upper torso as the lips come closer together and the sound is formed in the middle of the mouth. As the sound changes to “M”, the lips gently close, creating a humming sound which resonates throughout the skull and is experienced as a vibration on the lips. Following the end of the sound there is a silence which contains the resonance of the sound of “OM” and extends the meditative aspect of the chant. It is said that “A” represents the waking state, “U” the dream state and “M” the state of deep dreamless sleep. “OM” is thought to be the primordial sound containing everything that can be spoken and everything that remains unspoken.

(Acknowledgement T.K.V Desikachar – The Heart of Yoga)

~ Kelly Fisher and Lynda Miers-Henneveld

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