Why do we chant Om?

Why we Om. It would be difficult to uncover the full wisdom of this mantra in a lifetime let alone a few words here, but I hope at least to shine a little bit of light on to it so that hopefully it can be a more meaningful part of your practice.

We’ve all been there. We sit down with a teacher we’ve not practised with before and she declares “Ok let’s open with the mantra Om” I can remember my first experience thinking “oh god I feel silly” “am I being initiated into some cult”, “aaagghhh, I don’t want anyone to hear my voice” “what if I sound like a cat in a fight”. “I’ll never be able to get a depth of sound out like that”. All such normal experiences and also very relevant.

Let me pose this question to you. “When we put ourselves through asana (postures) we are taking the physical body through periodic discomfort in order for the body to become stronger, persistently pushing the boundaries of our limitations.

So, when a yoga teacher asks you to chant, one of the things he/she is secretly asking you to do is to push the boundaries of your self imposed ego or a little lighter put; the false constructed self that has formed through years of conditioning.

Many of us have the perception that we can’t sing, or that our voice is not worthy of being heard. We all have a primordial sound longing to be heard it’s just for some of us ‘life’s conditioning’ has got in the way. Just the one comment “you can’t sing” or “be quiet” from someone years ago, is an imprint enough for us to lock our voices away forever, never able to tap into the full expression of our being. What if you could begin to step towards your full potentiality in this life, no boundaries to the heart and voice that is completely unique to you. The universe is craving to witness your full flowering so I urge you to step into the difficulty of challenging the ego and to allow the shakti (energy) to come through you with no holds barred, it is the path towards nirvana (liberation) & moksha (freedom).

Yoga is so much more than just a bunch of poses. When the practice starts to penetrate beneath the surface, we begin to understand the importance of moving with the cycles of nature. It is a very important part of my teaching to honour the light and the dark in all aspects of life. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve navigated the darkness of my accident and subsequent rehabilitation had it not been for my practice.

Another reason we chant Om is exactly that, an acknowledgement of the cycles of life. The three syllables of Om (A,U,M) are related to the Hindu trinity Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva, these devas (gods) are representative of consciousness that lies within you of creation, preservation and transformation so at the beginning and end of our practice we aim to stir up those energies, we consider what is I wish to birth & grow out of the actions I take, what is it I hope to sustain and maintain for my well-being & what is it that I need to let go of or transcend for the benefit of myself and collective energy so that we are able to remain open fearlessly to consistent movement and change in whatever form, that manifests as. Then with practise, we begin to know and trust that even the dark is the opportunity for growth if we give it the opportunity for it to express itself.

Going even deeper into the vibrational aspect of these sounds Sanskrit is not just words, according to Tantric science, all of the 50 Sanskrit letters correspond to 50 root sounds, each with a unique coding of cosmic power to create form, these sounds are located in the chakras (vortexes of energy within the body)

These root sounds also represent certain bhavas (mental or emotional states) such as anger, love, hate, fear, joy etc. Hence Sanskrit is so much more than just words, it is a language that vibrates from within our being. This is why mantras have such a positive effect on the aspirant, it is a linking system of our own individual vibration to the source of creation, to the vibration of oneness.

So, if you are feeling inspired to open up to the possibility that mantra unlocks, why not join me on a Friday for Mythical Flow, on the odd sunny Saturday in the park for Glow or at one of our Coming Home Kirtan (yoga of sound) sessions, soon to be resumed.