To OM or not to OM?

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Let’s join together and end our practice with one final OM. Sound familiar? Often times we join in (or don’t) with out fully understanding the purpose of this ancient sound. I know that I participated in the end of class chant for years before fully understanding the meaning simply because it felt so good. So why do we OM? What is the meaning or purpose of this sacred sound? 

In yoga, when we chant Om we connect to the universal energy that exists in all of us.  Studies show the sound Om, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same frequency found throughout everything in nature, including ourselves. We chant this sound to symbolize the connection between ourselves and all other beings. We also chant OM to signify the ending or start of our practice. 

 T.K.V Desikachar in The Heart of Yoga describes OM as “the mother of all languages, that when chanted becomes a simple mantra which allows us to maintain clarity and calmness of the mind”.

The OM as it is translated in Sanskrit (the ancient language of yoga) is made up of three parts. A, U, and M. There is an additional symbol that represents the resonance of the sound that continues to vibrate after the sound has ceased. 

The first sound “A” comes from the belly. It is formed by opening the throat and voiced with the mouth open. 

The second sound is the “U”. This sound is formed in the middle of the mouth. The mouth begins to close around the sound. 

The “M” sound happens as the mouth closes and the sound begins to resonate in the nasal passages. 

The symbol for OM also has different parts and meanings that correspond with each of the sound parts. 



So hopefully this information allows you to decide if chanting OM is something you would like to add to your practice. If you were already an enthusiastic OMer then now you know some of the meaning behind the sound. 



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