What is ‘aum’?
To many different people ‘aum’ or ‘om’ can mean many different things. In some religions it means wholeness, perfection and the infinite. It is a symbol of God, a spiritual icon, and a word that is used as a mantra that also appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit texts. It is also seen to embody the essence of the entire universe. However, meanings are not always necessary and so the cosmic word works on levels beyond meaning too.
Om is the sound that brings you into focus.
Om is the syllable that grounds and roots you.
Om is the trigger for you to be present and aware.
Om is the signal for everything to stop and just be.
Om simply is.
But what relevance does this sound have to your yoga practice? ‘Aum’ is a great tool for meditation. Even some of the most experienced of people can find difficulty with concentration during meditation and their minds wander down long and winding roads.
Some of those minds wander down paths where they make lists of the things they need to do once their meditation is over, while others spend their meditation time worrying whether or not they’re doing it right. Like did you know ‘aum’ can be pronounced without using your tongue?!
This is where ‘aum’ comes in, brings us into the present and helps us to maintain our focus.
Not only does ‘aum’ aid our concentration during meditation, it also has outstanding healing benefits and is prescribed in yoga therapy across the world.
Here are 10 benefits of chanting ‘aum’:
1) The repetition of ‘aum’ leads to excellent mental and physical health.
2) It has positive effect for cardiac vascular health lowering blood pressure and increasing efficiency of all the cells and organs in the body.
3) The chant improves the production of endorphins thus making you feel relaxed.
4) In turn it rejuvenates the mind increasing concentration, memory, and the ability to learn.
5) Cleanses the mind and helps control emotions.
6) Relives stress levels.
7) It is used to combat depression and anxiety.
8) It leads to a greater understanding of oneself.
9) It helps to get rid of negativity.
10) Leads to a greater quality of sleep.
So if you haven’t tried chanting in a while or even if you’ve never tried it before, why not make some time for yourself today and see if you can reap the benefits of ‘aum’?
All you need is ten minutes and a piece of floor to sit on.
– Seat yourself in a comfortable position: Sukhasana, Padmasana, or Siddhasana.
– Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing upwards.
– Touch the top of your index finger to the top of your thumb on both hands (Yoga Mudra).
– Close your eyes.
– Slowly, take a long, deep breath in through your nose.
– Once your lungs are full exhale through your mouth while saying ‘aum’ until your entire breath is gone from your body. The movement of ‘aum’ should start below your navel for the ‘aaaahhh’, move into your throat for the ‘oooohhh’, and end on the crown of your head for the ‘mmmmmm’ where you’ll feel vibrations of the word moving through your body with your breath.
-Repeat for several minutes.