Welcome to the first edition of my new Mantra of the Month series! Mantra is an integral part of yoga practice and while there is much to say and many levels to explore I will do my best to shed a little light on each mantra without going overboard on detail. The rest is up to you! It is may aim to make this series more interactive as it evolves.
For now though, let’s start at the beginning with the universal sound of Om.
In almost any yoga class you take you’re likely to begin and end with the mantra Om. The sound vibration created when we chant Om is considered to be the universal sound of all life and we chant Om to tune in, tap in, and connect to the world around us. Many believe that all life vibrates at a certain frequency and when we listen closely enough we find that this vibration is Om. It is said the that the “whole world is nothing but Om.”
Om is connection with the primordial sound of all life.
Om, or Aum as it is often written, has four parts (a + u + m + silence) and when chanted all together it represents wholeness with the Universe.
A: represents the past and waking state. The “ah” sound is said to represent Brahma, the creator.
U: represents the present and dreaming state. The “oo” sound is said to represent Vishnu, the preserver.
M: represents the future and deep sleep and ultimate experience of the Divine. The “mm” sound is said to represent Shiva, the liberator/destroyer.
Silence: vibration dissolves into silence symbolic of the unity with the Divine and higher consciousness.
Additionally, Om is the bij sound (seed sound) for the Ajna chakra or third-eye at the brow center. When we focus the vibration of Om at Ajna we stimulate our intuition or the place where “we see without seeing.”
I love chanting Om and am pretty no holds barred about it. It moves me and my prana. When I’m chanting with all of my intention I feel the vibrations resonating within me, waking and shaking me up. I have read, and believe, that if you chant Om with all of your heart it will penetrate you to your soul.
|Me, Chanting Om at Pure Prana’s Karmafest|
The next time you chant Om see if you can’t watch the vibration from the first utterance of sound. Watch it as it rises from the base of your spine at Muladhara chakra, moves up and rings through Manipura and Anahata, and then concludes at Ajna. Watch the flow of energy throughout your body and allow yourself to experience the silence of higher consciousness that follows.
What does Om mean to you and your practice?
While there are many resources on the mantra, and more specifically Om, here are a few that I referenced for this post. Feel free to peruse or research on your own. And or course share your favorites! I never turned down a good book recommendations (see my list of Favorite Reads).
Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar, The Deeper Dimensions of Yoga: Theory and Practice and The Yoga Tradition by Georg Feuerstein and Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life.