om symbol

If you have been to a yoga class, chances are you have been invited to chant ‘om.’ Whether at the beginning of class as a way to set the space or at the end of class to close the practice, chanting om is a wonderful way to tune back into the present moment and connect to something greater than ourselves.

The sound om is actually made up of four sounds: A-U-M . The ‘A’ is pronounced “ah,” the ‘U’ is pronounced “oo,” the ‘M’ is pronounced “mm,’ and the space afterward is held for silence. These sounds represent the waking (A), dreaming (U), and deep (M) sleep states, while the silence represents the witness state of consciousness—pure awareness. It is all three states encompassed in all that is and ever was. The sound of om is said to be sound of the creation of the universe. It is considered a sacred sound.

The four-part sounds of om are easily experienced while chanting. The ‘A’ sound begins at the very back of the throat, the ‘U’ sound resonates at the middle of the mouth, and the ‘M’ sound at the lips. Take a moment to chant these sounds and feel the progression from the back to the front of the mouth. It will help you better experience the om chant.

Chanting om at the beginning and end of practice, or at the beginning and end of meditation is a wonderful way to enter and leave a space/time that you set for yourself to deepen your understanding of your yoga practice. Try chanting om—or a round of oms—at times when you could benefit from reconnecting to your center. It can help transform your emotional and mental state.