A student recently asked me how to chant om. The first thing that came to my mind was, “is there really a right or wrong way to om?’ It’s such a personal word, I think. So many people sing it differently. Some loud. Some long. Some short. Some even silently. When I first came to yoga, I was nervous about chanting it for many reasons. I didn’t know what it meant except for what the teacher said, “it’s the Universal sound.” Now think back to the first time you came to a yoga class… I was just expecting to stretch so the Universal sound was not in my vocabulary. I was already nervous about looking like a fool and you want me to sound like one too? Yeah right!
I eventually learned that the word is actually A-U-M (sounds like ‘home’ without the ‘h’). This is how I om:
Take a deep slow breath in
Slowly exhale and pronounce the ‘A’ sounds like ‘awe’. The ‘ah’ starts at the back of the throat and prolongs into ‘aaaaaah’ for a couple seconds. A vibration rises from the belly into the chest.
Then pronounce the ‘U’ sounds like ‘oooooo’ that will prolong and roll to the roof of the mouth. The vibration will continue to rise to the throat.
Then pronounce the ‘M’ (sounds like you’ve eaten something yummmmmmmm). The sound from ‘oooooo’ to ‘mmmmmm’ will roll from the roof of the mouth to the front of your mouth where you will close your lips until they touch to make the ‘mmmmm’ sound. Feel the vibration move to the top of the head.
Then deep silence as the ‘mmmm’ finishes.
I start and end class with three oms. One for myself. One for the beings around me (the local community). One for all the heart beats in the world.
Click to hear and join in
How do you om? What does om mean to you?