What Does Om Mean in Yoga and Meditation

Om is a very simple sound with a complex meaning. It is the entire universe gathered in a single word, which represents the union of mind, body and spirit that is the heart of yoga.

Om is a Sanskrit word and an ancient mantra that is often used in the practices of Hinduism and Buddhism, among other religions.

Sometimes it is chanted three times at the beginning and at the end of a yoga session. You can also write "aum".

The power of om

In the Hindu tradition, the sound of om contains the entire universe. It is the first sound since the beginning of time and it also encompasses the present and the future.

As such, its importance and power are difficult to overstate. In the chakra system, it is connected to the Ajna chakra, the third eye, which represents intuition and self-knowledge.

Om is also a seed syllable that is used as a building block for many other mantras during meditation. For example, om namah shivaya means "I honor the divinity within me."

Om shanti means "peace be upon you" and is an alternative to farewell.

Although yoga is not a religion, mantras containing om and om are commonly used in spiritual practices where they are respected.

Being aware of its religious and historical significance makes it easier to use the same respect when incorporating m into your daily life or yoga routine.

Om in yoga

In a yoga setting, chanting om at the beginning of class takes practitioners back to the time and space they are about to pass on the mat or in meditation. Also, an om at the end of the class means that your physical practice is over and it is time to rejoin society.

Singing with a group of people also serves to unify the group and create a sense of community. As you feel the vibration of the song and lose the sound of your own voice among those of your peers, it is possible to feel one with other people and even with the universe.

How to pronounce "Om"

Sometimes om is taught with a long o sound followed by a vibrating m. Others prefer to separate the sounds a and u, so it's more like ah-oo-mm.

The Science of Om

Scientists have investigated the effects on the brain of the vibrations created by singing. A small study from 2011 3 and a follow-up to 2018 4 evaluated the effects of using om as a mantra, taking functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of participants' brains while chanting om and also the sound "sss" as a control.

The 2018 study, which was published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry, noted that singing is associated with a relaxation experience, specifically citing beneficial changes in the autonomic nervous system (which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and other internal functions) and deactivation of the limbic regions of the brain (an area that controls emotion, memories and arousal).

The researchers also looked at brain activity during periods of OM, similar to that created by stimulation of the vagus nerve, which is used to treat depression and epilepsy.

Scientists have concluded that singing om may have potential in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Although these results are considered preliminary, they offer scientific support for the positive effects that many people experience from chanting om.

Another 2018 study found that singing out loud for 30 minutes significantly increased theta brain waves, indicating deep relaxation.5 A 2019 study showed that it also changes delta waves, 6 which are the same waves that are experienced in deep and dreamless sleep.

The Om symbol

The om symbol has become the unofficial logo of yoga. You see it on rugs and T-shirts, painted on studio walls, and tattooed on the bodies of some yogis.

It's such a ubiquitous image in the yoga world that it's easy to forget that its meaning goes beyond proclaiming your love for all things yoga. The origin of the symbol is unknown, but its three curves are believed to represent three states of consciousness:

waking state
dream state
Deep sleep

The dot in the om symbol signifies the fourth state of consciousness, which is when you are somewhere between the other three states.

Others suggest that the three curves of the om symbol may have other representations, such as the three worlds (earth, atmosphere, sky), the three main Hindu gods (Brahma, Vishnu, Siva), or the three sacred Vedic scriptures (Rg, Yajur, Sama ).

We hope you enjoy watching this video about  What Does Om Mean in Yoga and Meditation

Source: espira Channel: Yoga in English


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