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OM/AUM - A Yoga Teacher's guide

Most of us are familiar with the OM mantra chanted during the beginning and end of a yoga or meditation class. Some of us have chanted AUM without overthinking what it means, and the rest of us have felt uncomfortable or awkward doing so. So what does om mean and what is the point of chanting it?

Om or aum (pronounced ah-uu-mm) is a sacred, all-encompassing sound considered by ancient philosophical texts to be the sound of the universe. According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, om is ‘Bija’ or the original seed from which all sounds and words originate. It represents the sound of the universe that unites everything in the world. This bija is one of the oldest Sanskrit mantras and is chanted to connect with the higher self, the cosmos and during meditation.

In its richest essence, Om rises from clean consciousness & is the energy that sustains all life. It is the sound of oneness and signifies Supreme Power and togetherness with all creation. A symbol of the highest vibration that connects life & existence.

‘Om or Aum comprises of three syllables; A represents the physical experience or awareness, U represents dream consciousness, and M signifies deep sleep or inward consciousness’ - Mandukya Upanishad.

The vibrations that are generated from chanting Om are believed to energize the chakras through the body especially the crown (Sahasrara) chakra and third eye (Ajna chakra). These two chakras in particular are known to connect us with the divine.

The breath is the driving force while chanting AUM. While chanting, gently allow every inhalation to be deep and full while you notice the pause & silent moments between each OM. Experience and be present with every vibration within and outside you. Symbolic of peace and unity OM when chanted gently reminds you to soften each breath, slow down and soak in the present.

This vibration particularly calms the mind and soothes the central nervous system. When repeatedly chanted together with a group of people it brings a sense of community & togetherness. Om vibrations stimulate the areas of the brain that helps eases the mind, encourage you to let go of negative thoughts and boost mental clarity.

There’s a lot behind the science & symbol of Om; however, it's important to remember that there is no right or wrong way to chant OM. It is key to allow yourself to be present to the energetic powers that it holds and encourage your mind & body to relax and surrender to its healing vibrations.

As we celebrate the finale of 2022 amidst the festive frenzy and the busyness of life, let us pause and find our OM. It is a deeply personal experience for each individual, and we hope you find your sweet spot. Last but not least experience the joy of chanting this simple yet powerful mantra and may it manifest into abundance and love in 2023.

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