When I began practising Yoga I wasn’t that comfortable with saying Om at the beginning and end of the practice as it made me feel quite self-conscious and I didn’t understand the reasons for the chant. Now that I have learnt about Om and its significance I would not practice yoga without using this chant so I thought it would be useful to break down the sound and briefly explain the meaning so that others might also learn its significance.
How to pronounce ‘Om’
Om consists of four syllables and is actually pronounced ‘AUM’. The first syllable ‘A’ is pronounced as ‘awe’, the vibrations from this sound can be felt in the stomach and chest area. The second syllable ‘U’ is pronounced as a prolonged ‘oo’ and is activated in the throat. The third syllable ‘M’ is pronounced as the last m in ‘Mum’; this vibration can be felt in the nasal cavity/ skull area. The fourth syllable is actually the silence that follows; this vibration is beyond our verbal capacity.
Why say Om
Everything in the Universe is made of energy which is constantly moving/ vibrating. When chanted the sound ‘Om’ vibrates at a frequency of 432 Hz, this is the same frequency speed as everything that is in nature so in saying Om we are actually turning into nature, as we would turn into a particular station on the radio. The reason we chant Om at the beginning and end of a yoga practice is to help us get in tune with our environment and therefore to achieve a better, and a more meaningful practice.
In turn the vibrations created when say Om have a physical effect on our body, slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind to assist in a more focused practice. If we are practicing yoga as part of a group chanting Om at the beginning of the practice allows the energy of the group to begin to harmonise, chanting Om at the end of the practice together with ‘Namaste’ is a declaration of respect for yourself and each other.
Om and Namaste
Gemma (200 Hr TTC May 2017)