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Demystifying Yoga: What does “OM” mean?

September 23rd, 2016

YYoga College Faculty Shares Their Thoughts

Do you OM in class? What is OM? What purpose does it serve to chant this ominous sound?

Simply put om is a syllable that is considered the most sacred sound, mantra and symbol. It appears as the beginning and end of most sanskrit recitations, prayers and text. But what does that mean?

Janet Corvino | YYoga College Faculty

There are many traditional definitions of OM. As a modern day yoga teacher I use it to unite the energy at the beginning of class. Through the primordial vibrations of OM, the mind is easily cleansed of the busy day’s mind fluctuations, helping the body to become grounded and the spirit nourished. We become united in the present moment and move together as one community.

Hilary Keegan | YYoga Teacher

It’s a bit daunting to try to describe OM in its entirety. OM, after all, represents the sounds of the whole universe and connections at a very high spiritual level. But a part of OM for me is my connection to community. The communities that rise up and form between the instructors, students, and friends that come together to practice the ancient art of yoga. So OM for me is connection - connection to each other, to the practice, to the community.

Rachel Scott | Director of YYoga College

Often used to begin or end a yoga class, OM is a sacred sound that has been chanted for thousands of years. There are many layers to its meaning, but it is generally understood to represent Universal Consciousness. Similar sacred sounds are found in other cultures (for example, the word, "Amen.") Chanting or silently repeating OM as a mantra helps to calm the mind and create a sense of peace. A little less esoterically, chanting OM is simply a beautiful way to bring a community of yogis together through sharing sound.

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