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Exploring the Sacred Sound: The Essence of Om



Symbol of Om

In the vast ocean of spiritual practices, there’s a sound that ripples through centuries, resonating with seekers of inner peace and self-realisation – and it’s the sacred sound of ‘Om’. If you’re new to this mystical realm or you’re just starting on your yoga journey, you might be wondering, What is Om? Why do we chant it? And why does it feel a bit awkward? Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a newbie settling into your yoga community, we’re here to demystify the essence of Om and explore its significance – so you can get the most out of your practice.


The ancient chant of Om


Om, sometimes written as ‘Aum’, is a sacred and important sound in Hinduism, Buddhism, and various other spiritual traditions. Its origins date as far back as human civilisation itself, with roots deep in the oldest and most significant yogic texts, the Vedas. The symbol for Om expresses the essence of the universe in its entirety – with the three parts, ‘A’, ‘U’, and ‘M’ representing creation, preservation, and dissolution, or the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Most simply put, Om is the sacred sound of the universe.


Why is Om so important?


When you’re quietly chanting at the end of your yoga practice, trying not to be heard by your neighbour, you might forget that Om is not just a random noise or word; it’s a profound mantra that holds immense spiritual significance. When we chant Om, we’re aligning ourselves with the rhythm of the universe. It’s like plugging into a cosmic power source! The vibrations produced during the chant resonate through your being, creating harmony and a sense of unity with everything around you.


If it feels a bit unfamiliar, we get it. You’re not alone if you’re not ready to shout it from the rooftops just yet. Many beginners feel a bit self-conscious at first, and that’s totally fine. Some teachers (especially in gyms or studios where yoga isn’t the main practice) even skip the Om or make it optional to keep their students comfortable. But if you want to experience the rich history of yoga and gain the most from your practice – go on, give it a try.


Meditation

Why do we chant Om today?


Yes, yoga in our modern world is not exactly the same as the most traditional practices. So, what’s the point? Well, it’s one of the simplest ways to respect the history of yoga, and it can truly help us transcend in our practice.


Tradition: Om has been chanted for thousands of years. It’s a bridge connecting us to the wisdom of those traditional practitioners. By chanting Om, we become part of a timeless lineage of seekers, united in our quest for personal evolution or enlightenment.


Transcendence: Beyond tradition, chanting Om has a remarkable ability to take us beyond our everyday worries and concerns. When you chant Om, you’re not just making a sound; you’re immersing yourself in a vibration that elevates your consciousness (or at least intending to). There’s even research that suggests chanting Om has physiological benefits like stress reduction and improved sleep.


Getting over the awkwardness


Still not convinced to shout it out loud? Here are some tips to help you move through that initial awkwardness:


Embrace the silence: Before the chant begins, take a moment to settle into the silence. Feel the stillness in the room and within yourself. This can help you transition into the chant more comfortably.


Listen and learn: Instead of focusing on your own voice, pay attention to how your teacher and those around you chant Om. It’s a communal experience with the potential to create a deep sense of connection and unity, so allow yourself to nestle into that.


Let go: Release any preconceived notions about how it should sound or feel – there are no rules.


Practice practice practice: Like anything, practice makes perfect. Chanting Om gets easier and more comfortable over time. The more you do it, the more you’ll feel its power.


Embrace the journey, yogis! Let the sound of Om bring you closer to yourself and your community.



Much love,

~Caroline

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