Whether a yogi or not, we have all heard the word OM. And chances are you’ve chanted OM hundreds maybe thousands of times during your yoga classes. But what exactly does it mean?
OM is an ancient Sanskrit word, and it is the matrix of all sounds. When it is diversified it gives rise to all words in language. These two letters are simply variations of the same sound, as in Sanskrit the O is written as AU. So like in every single alphabet in the world, the word AUM starts with an A.
There is a connection here to three important Hindu Gods:
A relates to Brahma, the creator of the universe.U relates to Vishnu, the preserver of the universe.M is for Shiva who creates, protects and transform the universe.
The combination of these three deities is said to represent the fullness of all creation.
Many studies show that the power of OM is rooted in science, as well as having a deep spiritual side. Why? You may have heard that OM is referred to as ‘Earth’s heartbeat’, and this is because when we chant OM our hearts vibrates as 432 Hertz – which is also the frequency of the earth. Therefore, yogis believe that chanting OM helps them to tune into nature and the world around us. Pretty cool huh?
Why is chanting OM so good for our wellbeing?
The idea that sound affects the health of the mind and body is not new. Chanting and mantra recitation has been a part of Hindu spirituality and the healing power of yoga for thousands of years. Given the recent interest in mind-body medicine, it is not surprising that this ancient tradition is being utilised in modern day living.
The universe is made up of vibration, frequency, matter, and thought. Everything has a vibration whether we can tune into it or not, and this sound is called resonance, the frequency at which an object naturally vibrates. Each and every part of our bodies have their own natural resonance, and getting out of tune with this is the result of disease – whether due to stress, illness, or environmental factors.
Research shows that chanting ‘AUM’ has many health benefits:
Stabilizes heart rate Produces endorphins Speeds up the metabolism Focuses the mind, alleviating stress levelsFosters a deep mental clarity Promotes a sense of connectedness with the universeLeads to enhanced wellbeing and overall happiness
How can we scientifically explain the benefits ?
Our Happiness Guru Stephanie explains: “The vagus nerve is a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system, and is also the longest nerve in the body. The vagus nerve runs from the brain all the way down to the lower parts of the abdomen. During this journey from brain to abdomen, the nerve touches almost all of the major organs, and it is also entwined with the vocal cords.
When we chant OM we create vibrations and resonance throughout the vocal cords, and as a result we activate our vagus nerve, which in turn stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.
When the system is stimulated in this way, the heart rate and breathing pattern becomes slower and more natural, emotions are more easily regulated, and feelings of calm and relaxation are encouraged from the mind.”
The Sound Of ‘OM’
Universally, in language we have sounds that come from either the throat, the palate or from the lips. OM is the only sound vibration which represents all three together…
A, The walking state. Comes from the back of the throat and brings forth a harsh sound. U, The dream state. Comes from the middle of the vocal region. M, The state of deep sleep. Comes from the extremity of the vocal organ or lips.
At the end ‘AUM’ is a pause, a silence. This represents the state known as Turiya, or infinite consciousness.
Chant this, by yourself, with your friends, in your community, or use our wellness services to find the best yoga teacher, and allow the experience move you to a whole new vibration. Life is all about vibrating higher 😉