The Meaning of OM and How To Chant OM

THE MEANING OF OM AND HOW TO CHANT OM

In this weeks’ Monday Mantra, Mudra, Meditation #4 i  share the meaning of the mantra OM, the meaning of the symbol OM, as well as a video on how to chant OM correctly.

OM or “AUM” is the first mantra we learn when we start a yoga practice. I always chant it at the beginning of a yoga class together with a chosen invocation to set the tone of the class and to allow everyone to come together as one. I also end the class with OM Shanti Shanti Shanti OM (Shanti meaning Peace) to “close out” the practice and to experience all the space and vibration we’ve created on the yoga mat. The difference in vibration from the beginning of practice till the end is palpable and so beautiful to witness.

ॐ THE MEANING OF AUM

It’s said that we don’t need to know the meaning of the mantras, we will still feel their vibration(s) and absorb their effect(s). Maybe this holds true for the AUM, you don’t know exactly what it means, but it still feels so damn good, right?

I do think it’s helpful to know the meaning of the mantra we chant, so we can feel like we “get” the most out of them.

AUM originates from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, but this mantra can be chanted by anyone regardless of belief system or religion. AUM is made up of 3 syllables A-U-M, but we often refer to it as “OM,” as in Sanskrit we combine the A and U to a O, or double O. Instead of writing AUM we write OM.

When i first started yoga i learned that AUM is the primordial sound associated with the creation of the Universe, and if you’re outside in nature (when it’s pitch quiet) you will hear the sound of AUM. I have never personally heard it but i keep listening eagerly. Hopefully one day i will witness it. In the meantime i’m honing my listening skills #lifegoals 🙂

I also learned that nature and chanting AUM vibrates at the same frequency of 432 Hz. This is why we feel so relaxed and nourished from being outside in nature and from chanting AUM.
Chanting AUM has both physical and mental effects on us as it calms our mind and in return calms our nervous system.

I later learned the reason we always chant AUM 3 times. The reason is; it symbolises:
ॐ the three worlds of the Soul: the past, the present and the future.
ॐ the three Divine energies, or Shakti: creation, preservation and transformation.
ॐ the three essences of Spirit: immortality, omniscience and joy.

There is so much to be said about the meaning of AUM and there are many interpretation of it depending on what text you read, but i think knowing this will help enrich your practice immensely.

ॐ THE AUM SYMBOL // My self made water coloured AUM symbol with description

AUM sign by me

ॐ THE MEANING OF THE AUM SYMBOL

The AUM symbol is a ligature of Devanagari; which is used in classical Sanskrit texts. Simply put, this is the Universal symbol of the AUM sign. Everyone seems to agree on the meaning of this symbol, but like i said above interpretations differ depending on what text you read.

AUM represents three syllables:

A = waking state
U = dream state
M = dreamless state

The half moon crescent represents Maya, or the Veil of Illusion which is the obstacle to realising our highest self/our highest potential, or Infinite Consciousness.

The dot above Maya is Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness. At the end of chanting AUM there is always a pause, a silence; this is often considered a fourth syllable of the AUM, or the ‘silent’ syllable and represents this Infinite Consciousness.

AUM is also often associated with the Hindu Deity Ganesha; the remover of obstacles.
A = Ganesha’s belly
U = Ganesha’s trunk
M = Ganseha’s head

 

ॐ HOW TO CHANT AUM 

In the video below i share how to chant AUM correctly. Knowing this will help you experience the chant more profoundly on a vibrational level, physically, mentally and spiritually.

I am passing on to you what i learned from my amazing Sanskrit teacher Manorama, who i studied with in New York City. If you ever have a chance to study with her, go. It’s an experienced that should not be missed!.

Linguistically; when chanting AUM the 3 audible sounds are produced within our mouth starting with

A at the root of the tongue, traveling to the upper palate with the U and ends at the lips with the M.
I explain and share how to do this in the video below.

I like to think of it as a 3 course meal:
A representing the entrè,
U representing the main course,
M representing the dessert.

You want to savour all, with varying lengths :-).

The vowel sounds A & U are combined to an O (or double OO). So the correct way to pronounce AUM is a long O like like in ‘home.’

anita-goa49

FEEL THE VIBRATION

Last weeks’ Mudra/Atmanjali Mudra (above photo) is used with chanting AUM.

Inhale fully, and on the exhale chant. Feel the vibration from your heart (Anahata Chakra) vibrating into your thumbs.

Enjoy vibrating at a different level from now on.

I hope this shines more light on a mantra you already know and are used to chanting. Let me know what you learned and if this is helpful.

AUMfully yours,
Anita Goa 🙂

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17 Comments
  • Valency
    Posted at 13:13h, 19 October Reply

    This is amazing. I just started researching on meditation and I thank you for giving me the understanding of the AUM or OM. I have no idea how I ended up here on your blog but thank you.

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 12:42h, 30 October Reply

      Glad to hear it was helpful. Thank you for sharing that it was

  • Patricia A Penner
    Posted at 22:43h, 23 May Reply

    I just started doing OHM meditation again after being away for it for a long time,f and your videos are reallllllllllly helping me. Thank you so much ! ,Namaste’

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 09:49h, 27 May Reply

      Hello Patricia – Chanting OM is a wonderful practice. So healing. Enjoy ૐ

  • Patricia A Penner
    Posted at 21:20h, 24 May Reply

    How long should I perform the mediation? I’ve been trying to do 5 minutes, Is that too much? I need healing and calming
    thank you

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 09:57h, 27 May Reply

      5 minutes is great. You could chant it 3x, 9x, 18x up to 108x. It’s not so much the time or quantity, but more about the quality (the feeling) and allowing the vibration to permeate your BEing. You can visualise sending the vibration into a certain area of your body (beyond the heart) and/or into any area of your life that is in need of healing.
      Perhaps try to practice for 40 days and notice what/if anything “happens.” Find the length of time that will help you sustain it for 40 days. And remember healing happens over time 🙂
      Much love to you Patricia.
      I hope this is helpful.
      Let me know how it goes.
      OMwards and UPwards,
      Anita Goa ૐ

    • Krutarth Bhatt
      Posted at 19:32h, 08 August Reply

      Try it for 15 mins daily! It calms your mind & relaxes the mood as well. It’s curing my anxiety !

  • GOPAL BALIGA
    Posted at 05:18h, 30 May Reply

    beautifully explained.

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 11:53h, 18 June Reply

      Dear Gopal
      Glad to hear you found it helpful. Thank you for sharing ૐ

  • Regina
    Posted at 00:04h, 08 August Reply

    Thanks for that

  • Venugopal
    Posted at 05:46h, 11 August Reply

    Your explanation seems to be very excellent, I am chanting OM daily 108 times and it takes 30 minutes by using chin mudra .This primordial sound takes me to the divine world. Thank you very much madam for your guidelines.

  • James “Don” Funk
    Posted at 21:32h, 08 September Reply

    Really appreciate this clear explication of the sounds, and how to form them, and the symbol meaning, plus the auditory and video.
    I have AML and am working on my pain-body (Eckhart Tolle) and releasing trapped energy.
    I’ve just started to use vibrational energy to heal the cancer in my bones,
    I first used small wireless speakers, played my favs, and pressed the output of the speaker against my organs and soft tissue where it felt ‘right.
    Then I did some Chakra healing using sounds associated with each
    Then I got into 432 Hertz and Aum.
    I bought the book “Frequency” by Penny Pierce for insight.
    I am probably an animist, as I see see everything is alive, connected, and vibrating.
    So it’s fun to have a new healing energy and path
    Fatigue is a key problem with AML due to low white, red, and platelet counts.
    I have mitigated that with supplements that help repair mitochondria.
    So it’s fun to be alive at 77.
    Namaste
    Don

  • Sunil
    Posted at 05:08h, 09 September Reply

    its knowing thyself its vibrating our self

  • Theresa
    Posted at 02:21h, 16 September Reply

    Thank you for explaining and teaching I really need a lot of healing

  • Debolina Sarkar
    Posted at 02:24h, 09 December Reply

    Explained so beautifully. Really motivated now to practise chanting. Thanks

  • Anji
    Posted at 23:50h, 18 February Reply

    Good morning with smile.
    Thanks for your for most beautiful enlightening teaching about Om the foundation stone of spiritual World.

    • Anita Goa
      Posted at 10:11h, 13 May Reply

      Thank you, Anji. I am pleased to hear it was helpful. Thank you for sharing and happy practice ૐ

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