Om…… a subtle sound travels the whole studio as we chant every morning before or after Asana practice. This 2-alphabet together (3 syllables to be exact, A-U-M) is amazingly soothing, peaceful yet powerful.
I had no idea of its meaning when I first did ‘Om’ chanting at a commercial gym studio. I just followed whatever the instructor guided me without further questioning.
However, most people think that Om (and other Mantras) always seems to have a religion attachment (especially Hinduism). Many people with different religion beliefs often debate it as the act of praising to God of Hinduism, or a cult – some would strongly oppose to any yoga related activity, or some would choose to perform as a normal fitness routine (purely Asanas).
It triggers my curiosity as I am not so convinced chanting that single word would shake our personal religion belief. (Note: it is only my personal thought, it is nothing against any religion, nor trying to convince anyone)
It comes to a clearer picture as explained during our theory class. It only becomes a confusion when a religion adopted Yoga to their practice. Om is one of the most primordial sounds that exists as far as the universe began. It is around us all the time (a frequency we normally hear in an enclosed environment), but it is being ignored from all noises in our daily life. As a matter of fact, Om brings our mind back to our present existence. It is a science that takes us back to an awareness to our body. Every single syllable in Om (A-U-M) creates a light vibration, it loosens up the tension from abdomen, chest to throat and teeth, and it awakens and clears mind.
Chanting Om in yoga is essential (together with the Pranayama and the theory etc.) to receive best possible benefit that ‘beginning and/or ending your yoga practicing with AUM helps to connects us to our practice in a deeper way than just with physical postures.’ an online article from MindBodyGreen has pointed.
I have done further research and found some scientific proofs from various books and scholar papers. One analysis based on computer science suggested that ‘OM chanting affords steadiness in the mind scientifically. This provides calm and peace too to the stressed mind. The mental stress of a person gets reduced while the mind reaches steadiness.’
In the article on BBC News online “Does doing yoga make you a Hindu?” interviewed yoga teachers with different religions. One stated that “Something that is interesting about yoga is that whilst it is spiritual, it doesn’t stipulate a specific religion,” and “Even in the devotional forms of yoga, it says you can use any object of devotion you like, be it Ganesh, Krishna, Jesus or Allah.”
During my own practice, I do feel a sense of steadiness with a vibrating energy flowing inside my body that keeps me calm and focus. Nevertheless, the effect of chanting Om or other mantras on individuals are very personal.
In conclusion, Om is primordial sound that resonates with the human body to the nature. In my opinion, Om, this simple word signifies the union of oneself mind and body to earth (the present self). As more studies and articles have shown, there are more connection to health benefits than to any religion. That is my understanding and personal opinion on this topic.
What is your thought?
Desiree /200hrs Yoga TTC weekday (09/14)