This weekend is my last weekend of yoga teacher training and it involves a test, which I should be studying for and am not. Well, at least at this moment I have found a way to procrastinate, but make myself believe it is possibly related to studying. Anyway, here it goes!
The word “om” is considered a vital part of yoga philosophy. One little word seems to encompass so many things. It often begins or ends a yoga class either by itself or repeated three times. It is called the seed sound of the universe and has four distinct parts to it: A, U, M and the silence which follows these sounds in which one is supposed to reflect on the vibration of the sound in her body. Each of these sounds is formed distinctly with the mouth and then linked to the next sound. A is the first letter of the sanskrit alphabet, M is the last and U stands for continuity and connection. So it is thought that to go through om constitutes everything. Such grandeur for two little letters.
I have always enjoyed chanting om. I enjoy feeling the vibration of the sound throughout my body and the silence that follows it. When I was first beginning yoga, it was my favorite because I had no idea of how to pronounce or chant any of the other sanskrit, but om always seemed approachable and easy. I have since learned to pronounce and chat a bit more sanskrit, but still om is an interesting part. My current interest in it is to listen to how people chant it. Each person’s om seems to be unique and it seems to be relative to the type of class I am taking. In my fast moving mysore class, each letter is drawn out and everyone seems to want to prove how much breath capacity they have. I can rarely keep up with this as I am out of breath from doing my sun salutations and trying to draw out my breath at that point is just too much! In my pre-natal class, the om is much quieter and I often find myself still chanting the M when everyone else is done. Men tend to have deeper om’s (whether this is due to an actual deeper voice or just the need to sound manly is quite unclear!) and women have softer, but more vibrant om’s. They all combine together in a class to create a deep and rich sound which always soothes my soul and also somehow makes me feel connected to the other people in the room.