Aum is often called the “sound of the universe”. The vibration that resonates in your body when you chant has physical and physiological benefits! It can bring a sense of calm and focus, it can decrease blood pressure, increase relaxation, and the vibration can give a little massage to your chest, throat and head.
There are actually three different sounds that are made when you chant OM…the first is “Aaahhh”, and the vibration begins at the heart. From there, it moves to the “Ooohhh” sound (like “home”) which resonates in our throat. The final sound, “Mmmm” has a sound that can be felt in our head. You can even put your palm on each body part when you make the sound to feel it!
What Does “Aum” Mean?
Aum (or OM) is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds. It is said to be the sound of the universe. What does that mean?
Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us–that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Aum. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Aum allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves–the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Aum, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
The Aum Symbol
The Aum symbol design can be seen as a symbolic representation of the various psychological compartments of the psyche; an inner dimensional map of the various compartments of human consciousness and the relationship each has to the divine within.
The long lower curve represents the dreaming state.
The upper curve stands for the waking state.
The curve which emanates from the center represents deep sleep, beyond dreams.
The crescent stands for the veil of material illusion.
The dot is the transcendental self.