Om Sweet Om: Sounding the Key Note of the Universe
Sep 01, 2014 03:05AM
● By SAM SAUNDERS
“Om” is a Hindu sacred sound considered the greatest of all mantras, traditionally used in prayers, chants and meditation—possessing high spiritual and creative power, it can be recited by anyone. Om is both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth. When pronounced correctly, it is actually “AUM.”
Aum consists of four syllables: A, U, M and the silent syllable.
The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged “awe.” The sound starts at the back of the throat and is stretched out; sense the feeling of the solar plexus and chest vibrating.
The next is U, pronounced as a prolonged “ōō,” with the sound gradually rolling forward along the upper palate and vibrating the throat.
The third syllable, M, is pronounced as a prolonged “mmmm,” with front teeth gently touching. Start to feel the top of the head vibrate.
The last syllable is the deep silence of the infinite. As intelligence rises from the deep silence, merge the chant from the M to the deep silence.
Why do we chant it?
Everything in the universe is pulsating and vibrating—with nothing standing still. The sound Om, when chanted, vibrates at 432 Hz, the same vibrational frequency found throughout nature. By chanting the keynote sound of the universe, we are symbolically and physically tuning in to and acknowledging our connection to all other living beings, nature and the universe.
The universal vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also physically affect the body by slowing the nervous system and calming the mind, similar to the effects of meditation. When the mind relaxes, blood pressure decreases and ultimately, heart health improves.
Finally, chanting AUM is well-suited to mark the beginning or end of a yoga practice or meditation session or as a respite from regular daily activities. It signifies that this is a special time to care for ourselves and practice being mindful.
Sam Saunders lives and teaches yoga in Dubai. Connect at [email protected].