When I first started practicing yoga I took a class. We opened with sound of om and then again sealed in our practice with the sound of om. I remember thinking to myself, “what is om and why are we doing this and more importantly how can these people hold this for so long?!”. Years later I still practice yoga, and still open and close my practice with om.
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. Coming from Hinduism and Yoga, the mantra is considered to have high spiritual and creative power but despite this, it is a mantra that can be recited by anyone. It’s both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth and when pronounced correctly it is actually AUM.
Why do we chant it?
Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating – nothing is really standing still! The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature.
As such AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so by chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
“The syllable OM, which is the imperishable Brahman, is the universe. Whatsoever has existed, whatsoever exists, and whatsoever shall exist hereafter, is OM. And whatsoever transcends past, present, and future, that also is OM.”
Yoganand says that chanting om also creates a link with those who have practiced before us. “It’s a sound that validates oneness and harmony,” he says. “We chant it because yogis have for thousands of years. And when we chant it, we’re connecting with those yogis in a ritual way, and drawing upon the support of the practices they’ve been doing for a long, long time.”