It can feel a bit awkward, yes, but we OM loud and proud at the beginning and end of every class for a few reasons. The sound of OM is known to be the sound of the humming energy that radiated through the universe before anything materialized or even came into existence. This primordial sound, this energy, is thought to be what created all things. So, even though it’s a bit uncomfortable to belt out OM in a room full of people we don’t really know it is to honor something that is pretty outstandingly powerful, so… JOIN IN!! The vibrating energy of OM, that created all things, vibrates within all things living and all things inanimate. It connects us all to each other and to all things! How crazy is that thought? Think about what connects us as humans- our DNA obviously, and the fact we are living. Now, think about what connects all inanimate objects- the lack of ‘life’, now to think that there is something that can actually connect us all as thick as blood, living or not. The idea that we are all brought to be from this same vibrating energy… that thought alone can cause a spiral of ideas and concepts that we have as humans to be brought up and challenged. As the genius Albert Einstein’s equation stated E=MC², energy= mass of a object multiplied by the constant speed of light squared- which in layman’s terms means all matter is made from waves of energy. Ah-Ha! Even Einstein knew it, who knows maybe he was an AUM chanting fool.
The chanting OMs in our practice are thought to be the very sound of that all encompassing creative energy! That’s a lot of power and energy to be able to express, and yet half of us in these classes are too embarrassed to really let out our inner OM. There are many explanations of what the sound, and chanting of OM or AUM mean or how they should be done or used. I have what I believe and how I feel about them, and if my explanation doesn’t tickle your OM fancy than I do encourage everyone to do some researching, and some self searching. I like the idea or belief that the 3 letters of AUM represent the 3 stages of consciousness; waking (conscious), dreaming (sub-conscious), and deep sleep (un-conscious). I personally like that concept about the 3 letters of AUM (OM) because it brings me into myself at the beginning and end of each practice. Even I have an uncomfortably loud, rattling, half open mouthed OM that I let slip out of my mouth at the beginning of my practice, while I self consciously listen closely to the people sitting next to me just to find out that they are also half way shaking out the same sound; so don’t think you’re the only one! When I let down my guard and let the sound actually vibrate through me, slightly vibrating my bones I can feel my whole body getting lighter and I feel this intense amount of movement inside my heart . I think about the states of consciousness and how that sound is all of them all at once, and that it is all things… all at once. I let myself get lost a bit, and when it comes to the ending low Mmmm sound I find myself only wanting to take in one more deep inhale and at the top truly belt out an OM. One my Mama would be proud of, if you know what I mean. Every class that uneasy feeling starts to fade and I find myself melting into my mat, feel myself letting go, letting my state of being and my state of consciousness get lost; I let it be lost in all the states, as I am not awake, not dreaming, and not in deep sleep. Regardless of if you know this sound as the sound of all things, the beginning sound, the uplifting chant, Omkara or even if you know it as that seriously horribly embarrassing moment at the beginning of your yoga classes, let yourself try something new. Find your inner OM, forget where you are or who you are with and just BELT IT OUT! Or just sit and enjoy the warm room. 🙂
“Nothing changes if nothing changes, and if I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got, and I will keep feeling the way I have always felt.”- Earnie Larson