The meaning of OM

OM is the sound that is chanted at the beginning and end of a yoga practice. In the language of Yoga, Sanskrit, it is called a Mantra. Mantras can be a sound, word, sentence or whole verse.

When we chant a mantra we focus our mind and hearts on the meaning behind the words and align our actions with our intentions.

Although chanting is not singing, we naturally relax our face and jaw and throat and in doing so receive the vibration of sound which is considered healing to the body and mind

OM is considered the most sacred of all Mantras. When we invoke this sound we are inviting divine assistance into our endevours. We ask our highest selves to guide our actions so that we are expressing the best of ourselves in all we think say and do.

It is said in three syllables - A, U, M.  Chanted at the beginning of yoga practice it helps to set the tone of our practice, bringing awareness to the present moment, ones practice and our intention behind our practice. At the end of practice, it is a symbol of closure in recognition of the personal work you have done and in gratitude for the teachings, teacher and fellow students you have guided and supported you in your work.

As we create the sound on the exhale we feel the vibration move through the body, progressing from:

  • the lower belly - the part of the body responsible for the creation of life, the womb in woman and the seat of digestion which supports our own life
  • the heart and lungs - the organs essential to the circulation of blood and nutrients as well as the breath , which supports life in our body
  • the cavity of the skull - the seat of the mind, and our capacity for intelligence, discrimination and wisdom

The final “sound” of the mantra is silence. This “sound of silence” is said to be the source of creation and the final state of consciousness , which is peace. It is described as the still point of the turning world, It was there before you were born, is with you now as silent witness to your changing life, and will be present after you are gone. This is Samadhi.