In yoga philosophy, Om is seen as the original sound of the universe. The beginning as well as the end of being. It is the original vibration, and thus because we ourselves are vibrations, Om is the beginning of us all.
This sound, this mantra, is for me the most powerful sound I can create. It is a sound that both grounds me and lifts my spirit. It calms my mind, balances my body and reminds me of my true purpose – to connect, deeply, to everything around me.
I remember first hearing the mantra Om when I was roughly 5 years old. I used to go with my mom to her yoga classes. At the end of each class, during Savasana, a recording coaxing us into relaxation would be played and at the end of this recording, I heard it. A strange guttural sound, which seemed to penetrate my whole body and shook my soul.
19 years later I find myself using this same sound in situations when I need it most. Before teaching a yoga class, saying it softly with each breath to bring myself into the present or at the end of my practice, at that moment when every piece of the atmosphere comes together.
In these moments “Om” is the perfect plea for more, bow of thanks, shout of exaltation, sigh of relief, gasp of wonder and coo of love that sums up every feeling I have.
How to discover enlightenment through Om
The guru David Life (one of the founders of Jivamukti Yoga) described Om as being the perfect mantra for the discovery of enlightenment because its very pronunciation in a chant vocalises the feelings one experiences.
- The beginning of the sound is the “oh” uniformly known as the sound of surprise, astonishment and awe.
- The middle of the sound is the “ah” the sound of realisation, epiphany and deepening understanding.
- The last delicious sound of “mmmm” is the sound of content satisfaction in tasting the sweet nectar of bliss and enlightenment – Samadhi.
It is by supplementing our yoga practice with additional practices such as chanting, pranayama etc. that we can begin to recognise yoga as being so much more that just a form of exercise. Instead, as we go deeper, we begin to see it as a practice which leads us closer towards the gateway of our Being, and the more we chant and the deeper we practice the more we begin to appreciate the chant of Om as being the key which opens the door leading towards our higher Self.
Written By Anesu Mbizvo
Anesu Mbizvo is a qualified medical doctor and yoga instructor, passionate about holistic health and natural medicine.
- What is Real? The Story of Jivamukti Yoga. 2016. Documentary directed by Jay Mac, produced by Great Scott Concepts 108.
- Jivamukti Yoga. Practices for Liberating Body and Soul. Written by Sharon Gannon and David Life. 2002. Published by The Random House Publishing Group.