The Mandukya Upanishad states, “Sarvamomkaraeva”
– Om contains all forms, all essence, all perception, all meaning and all
language. It in corporates three sounds
that cover gross, subtle and causal levels of existence and give the practitioner
to the fourth state beyond even that. And this highest level of mysticism can
be accessed in one very simple, physical act – the chanting of OM.
What does Om mean?
Though more widely
recognized as “Om”, it is important to establish that the correct form of this
sound-concept is in fact“Aum”. Only with an awareness of this three-part Aum is
the practitioner staying true to the Vedic teaching. The first sound, “A” is
the primeval sound, pervading all other sounds and referring to the gross level
of reality as experienced in the waking state. The “U” sound takes the
practitioner to an intermediate state of subtle awareness, as experienced in
the dreaming state. The “M” sound raises you to the level of causal reality or
deep sleep state, where all objects merge in a state of bliss. After the three
sounds, there is silence, represented by the half moon and dot symbol of Aum’s
transcription. Thus,Aum chanting leaves you with a silent opening into the
transcendent “fourth state” of Yoga philosophy, best known as Turiya.
The Benefits of Chanting
Aum chanting is a
cornerstone of Yoga Therapy for good reason. Selecting tools from the Hatha
Yoga system for personalized healing aims, Yoga Therapy includes Aum chanting
for its emotional benefits while maintaining the spiritual core of Yoga. As the
syllable of highest mystic significance in the Yoga tradition, it gives the
practitioner a vibrational tool for enhanced concentration while directing them
to the contemplation of Ultimate Reality. It forms a highly beneficial approach
to the treatment of psychosomatic conditions, and prepares every practitioner
for the act of union that is Yoga’s truest healing value.
As a tool for
awareness, Aum chanting holds the key to a number of Yogic practices. It is an
excellent preliminary form of pranayama, requiring control of the breath
throughout the process of chanting. Practitioners should get in touch with
their diaphragm and develop the use of that muscle by pulling air deep into the
abdomen instead of gasping with the mouth. Aum chanting performs incredible
work on the throat chakra as well as the vocal cords, and you will not fail to
notice a new depth and resonance to your voice after just a few repetitions. As
the beejamantra for the third eye,
Aum activates your higher intelligence through a form of dharana(concentration) that makes use of tangible physical
vibrations to focus the mind.
How to practice Aum
-Get in touch with the
three sounds within the AUM by practicing each separately. Produce the “A”
sound with an open mouth and feel its vibrations in the abdomen. Close the jaw
halfway for the “U” sound while experiencing vibrations in the chest and
throat. Bring the lips together completely for the “M” sound as you feel the
vibrations travel from the throat to the third eye.
-Fuse the three
syllables into one fluid sound and observe the vibrations travel from abdomen
to third eye. Complete the AUM before you get short of breath – there is no need to empty the lungs.
-Combine awareness of
the third eye chakra. As your practice develops and the AUM sound becomes
fluid, take your awareness to the third eye. Continue to witness the vibrations
as they ascend from the abdomen but keep the third eye chakra as your fixed point
of concentration. The third eye is the natural destination of AUM, and when you
practice with the right intention you are sure to awaken the higher
intelligence situated there.
-After the practice,
stay in silence witnessing the vibrations. You are likely to feel that a space
has opened in the throat and chest area, so take some time to observe the
effects, and enjoy.
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