Have you ever gone to a yoga class that started or finished the class with an OM and wondered just what it was all about? Well you're certainly not alone! When I first started teaching yoga just over 5 years ago I found it too confronting to include any OM's at all in my public classes, so instead I chose to leave it out.
Although I've always chanted in my own practice, it's only in the last year or so that I've started introducing this majestic sound to the students at bloom. So if you're wondering what it's all about, read on to find out more. I always notice when we close our practice at the end of class with 3 rounds, the third and final round is always the most powerful, as though the first two were warm ups and everyone has found their sound by that last round!
One of the most common questions is - what is it? What does it mean? It is both a mantra and a chant all in one. Perhaps the most ritualistic part of our practice, we chant OM at the beginning or end of class (sometimes both) as a way bringing harmony into the room and creating a sense of unity. It's sanskrit spelling is A - 'aahh' U - 'oohh' M - 'mmmm' where each letter is a single syllable that represents the past, the present and the future; the whole of the universe where everything is one. As the last syllable fades, we sit in silence and feel the vibration resonate from the inside out. Yogis have chanted it for thousands of years, and when we chant it we are connecting with those yogis as part of a ritual, drawing on the collective support of the practices that they have been doing for a long long looooong time.
So next time you're in class, perhaps enjoy the vibration, the sound and the unity that the sound brings to the room, and in time the sound might find you too!