Why do we chant the OM mantra at the beginning and end of a Yoga class?
Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating, nothing is really standing still. The sound OM, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, which is the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature. As such OM is the basic sound of the universe. By chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound and acknowledge our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
In addition the vibrations also have a physical affect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind.
It is also a way to set aside the time for our practice from the rest of our day and to signify that this is a special time in which we care for ourselves and practice being mindful, connecting us to our practice in a deeper way than just with physical postures.
Daily chanting of OM will have a profound transformation on your physical, mental and emotional body.
It's both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth and when pronounced correctly it is actually AUM, consisting of four syllables: A, U, M and a silent syllable.
Here are a couple of ways to chant AUM (please try them and see which resonates with you) the Mantra is chanted on the exhalation:
- The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged 'awe'. The sound starts at the back of the throat and it is stretched out. Vibration in the solar plexus and the chest may be felt.
- The second syllable is U, pronounced as a prolonged 'ooo'. Vibration in the throat may be felt.
- The third syllable is M, pronounced as a prolonged 'mmm' with the front teeth gently touching. Vibration on the top of the head may be felt.
- The last syllable is a deep silence.
- On the exhalation start with the 'A', feeling the vibration around the navel. Travelling up, the 'U' sound enters around the heart center. The sound M comes up via the throat center and ends up vibrating in the 3rd eye and the crown center.
Both ways the Mantra vibrates through the entire spine and activates all the major energy centers.
If you would like to learn more about the OM mantra than take a few minutes (9 minutes) to listen to Sadhguru's take on it: