Why we “om” in yoga

To the non-yogi, many aspects of even a simple yoga class can seem mysterious and weird.  Especially the “om.”  So what, really, is the purpose of the “om” before or after a yoga class?

The esoteric answer can be found all over the Internet, that “om” is the “sound of the universe” or “the sound of silence” (figure that one out!).  The universe, we are finding, has a frequency, and “om” is thought to be that frequency.

Great. Doesn’t help demystify yoga, right?

Think of it this way: to many, yoga is more than exercise, it is a moving meditation, a chance to tune out the busy world and come into one’s own mind.  At the beginning of a yoga class, the students have just come out of traffic, from the office, from school, from a stressful meeting.  And all that time the little voice in one’s head is chattering away.

By chanting “om” we give ourselves a chance to reset our internal dialogue.  Chanting “om” is distracting.  It takes our full attention – you can’t really think about anything else when doing it.  It sounds groovy.  It’s kind of fun to do, it makes us feel sort of esoteric.  It tickles our ears and throat.  It turns off that little voice.

It’s a chance to start fresh, before we immerse ourselves in our practice, free of distraction.  And who doesn’t want a chance to start over every day?

So give it a try.  Who knows, the universe just might be listening.

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