OM is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning or at the end of yoga class. Seed mantras like OM are no ordinary words with dictionary definitions.
OM It was first felt by rishis as they meditated. It was more about the essence of Om than the chanting of it. Eventually as the experience was shared the word came out and people started chanting it to get the experience of it. So, you might wander, what is the experience of Om? Om represents everything. This small word contains all the power of the Universe.
Aum actually consists of four syllables: A, U, M, and the silent syllable.
In Sanskrit, the sound “O” is a diphthong spelled “AU”. A diphthong is the blending of two vowel sounds where both are normally heard and make a gliding sound. As a result, the difference between OM and AUM is simply one of transliteration.
AUM represents the 3 Fold Division of Time & Symbolically the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and it’s 3 main characteristics:
A – is the waking state - Beginning / Creator
U – is the dream state - Middle / Preserver
M – is the state of deep sleep - End / Destroyer
At the end of AUM is a pause, a silence. This represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness. The last syllable is the deep silence of the Infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, you have to merge your chant from the ‘M’ to the deep silence.
Why do we chant it?
Everything in the universe is vibrating – nothing is really standing still. When chanted we chant the sound OM, it vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found in everything in nature. 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.
In addition the vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical affect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind similar to meditation. When the mind is relaxed, your blood pressure decreases and ultimately the health of your heart improves.
Repeating Om at the end of a yoga class with the traditional “Namaste” it is also a declaration of respect for the practice and each other. Remember the more you meditate the deeper you go expanding and awakening your connection to every part of our amazing universe. It is a beautiful and powerful tool that anyone can practice.