The Why and How of OM

Even if you have never entered a yoga studio, you have probably heard of the sound OM.  OM or AUM is the most frequently used sacred sound on earth, and the mantra often chanted in yoga classes.  Though it is meaningless, there is deep significance and healing power in this primordial vibration.

So what does it mean and how can we use it as a healing tool?

Sound is the essence of all energy. The whole universe is formed from energetic vibration and OM is the sound made by this cosmic energy.  If we could hear the universe, it would make a ‘hum’ like the OM sound.  Additionally, the root sounds of human speech are in AUM. Think of a baby learning to speak.  As humans, we are capable of producing 3 fundamental sounds: A, U and M.  All other sounds are combinations of these three made with the help of the tongue and oral cavity. If that sounds unreasonable, try holding your tongue and making any sounds other than A-U-M.

Are your fingers dry? Lets move on. Simply put, humans are matter and states of energy.  And as Einstein equated, mass cannot be destroyed or created, but it can change from one form to another. In chanting OM, all three of the root seeds are pronounced to vibrate the entire body from the inside out: from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, permeating all seven chakras.  OM awakens and transforms every atom in our body.  It clears, balances and energizes the entire electromagnetic field.

Some additional significance to the AUM:

A – represents wakefulness we experience in the outer world through our senses, or conscious state and present realm

U – is our dream state of inward experiences or subconscious state and past realm

M – is deep sleep or unconscious state or future realm

What is not heard, is the silent pause at the end of the OM which transcends the previous states and symbolizes the spiritually awakened state. In silence, energy returns to the heart where matter and spirit meet.

Ready to try it? Find a comfortable seated position with a tall spine and soft gaze or closed eyes. Invite your senses into your body by scanning it internally. Keeping the throat soft and oral cavity spacious, take a full breath in through the nose, and on the exhale, make the sound “Aaaaaaaa”.  Notice the inner vibration in the abdomen and the core center.  On the next exhale, make the sound “Oooooooo” and notice the vibration in the chest and throat.  Finally, gently touch the lips to make the sound “Mmmmmmm” on an exhale and notice the vibration in the head.  When you are ready and if your breathing allows, make all three sounds on one breath out.  Listen to your intuition. Linger in any of the three sounds longer and play with the volume etc.  Repeat as you feel comfortable and focus on the sensations and sounds made within the body.  You are now practicing Nada yoga, the yoga of sound!

OM Shanti,

Megan