The word “Om” is actually an extremely simple sound but possesses a complex meaning when accessed. This means the whole universe that’s merged into one word, and also representing the union of body, mind, and spirit that resides at the yoga’s heart.
More explicitly, if say Ommm, it is usually the first & last sound you hear in every yoga class. We would agree that what it means is also “the sound of the universe”, and what is the actual meaning of that?
Just as some other terms would be, Om is quite uneasy to define like several other spiritual things. Michael Carroll, the dean of Kripalu Yoga School said Om could mean nearly anything.
For the newbies, Om is concerned with sacred threes. Just as most faiths regard trinities in their source including Hinduism where Om came about, so also does Om. Although, the way it is pronounced is in a seamless manner therefore, it has same rhyme with “home”, but Om is made up of 3 syllables, which are A, U, and M or when pronounced phonetically, as “aaah, oooh, and mmm.” According to experts, the said syllables can represent several kinds of trios which include, the heavens, earth, and underworld; the waking, dreaming, and dreamless states-representing consciousness, then the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (I.e. creator, sustainer, and destroyer gods).
The Om sound seems to pop up first in the Upanishads, which is a collection of sacred texts that passes information about Hinduism. Particularly, the Mandukya Upanishad which is totally committed to Om actually began as “Om is the imperishable word. Also, Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of Om. Even, the past events, the present ones, and the one for future, all that was, all that is, and all that will be is Om. Equally, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is Om.”
These stated really cover Om, for Om is very big actually.
In another sense, Om is regarded as the “mother of bija, or seed matras, i.e. short, potent sounds that basically have correspondence with each chakra and fuel longer type of chants e.g. when you say; Om Namah Shivaya”. This word also has to do with crown chakra or the third eye but depends on the person you’re communicating with, and at the same time still connect us in one way to the Divine. This is why Om serves as core term to some of the Buddhist systems together with other Indian religions. Mind you, some individuals state that it belongs to sounds that were recorded within the deep space, as can be found on the NASA’s website. When you observe deeply, the Earth even sounds a little bit “om-y”.
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According to some scholars, the shape of the Om symbol when viewed visually represents each one of the syllables it has. Check for better understanding from the symbol below.
Note, the 3 represents the Sanskrit letter for “ahh,” when combined the said 3 with the provided mini S on top, it stands for “oooh,” and then the half-moon & bindhi together represent “mmm. From report, some persons have said that this symbol is associated with Ganesh, which is the Hindu half-elephant god who ensures obstacles are removed always.
There are lots of other meanings that could be sourced for as well; still Om has been able to remain popular due to its vibration, which is the way we do feel whenever it is chanted. Stephen Cope even said “the sound itself seems to calm the nervous system,” he is the one who founded Institute for extraordinary, Kripalu. Just like all other chants, Om gathers and also focuses one’s mind, which in that very state it gets to remain invulnerable to aversion or grasping. Om shifts us outside our ordinary broad mind and then into a mode that’s more contemplative.
Explaining further, Om unites us together as a group. Whenever we make the sound Om together, we are able to align progressively with the mind, spirit or body; likewise we are aligning with ourselves in that case, and we are doing same with the universe all because it is the sound of the whole universe. In this course, we are therefore making reference to a real thing, according to Bhavani L. Nelson. It is a very peaceful and grounding sound. Memorably, a teacher said when you basically pass through life and keep chanting Om all along, then your surrounding air will even sparkle.
In another context, we can simply understand that, the very feeling of infinity you get to feel while the last sound of “mmm” fades out gradually is just augmented by what lot of persons referred to as the 4th syllable of Om (i.e. sorry, lovers of trinity!), which is silence.
According to Yoganand, the chanting of OM creates a particular link between us and those who have engaged in such practices before our time. He also said; Om is a sound that validates harmony and oneness. We often chant this sound all because yogis have been doing the same for thousands of years now. While, whenever we do this, we get to connect with those people in a kind of ritual manner and then draw to us the support of their practices which they have engaged over the years.
For easier pronunciation of Om:
Make the following mouth adjustments to increase the sound’s potency.
For “ahh,” keep your jaw relaxed and make the sound from the belly, part the lips, and then prevent the tongue from touching the palate.
For “oooh,” ensure the lips come close just as the sound exits the abdomen right into the heart.
For “mmm,” the tongue moves to the mouth’s roof, then the lips unite creating a kind of buzz in the head afterwards. This could sound those way twice as other syllables, as said by some persons.
Lastly, silence; this can be called the 4th syllable of Om. It is what follows the fading out of the Om sound into nothing. Just make an observation afterwards, you will have something noticed according what you’ve learnt in this piece.