Chanting Om

Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition of India and can be defined as sounds, syllables, words, or group of words that are capable of creating transformation.

The most widely known and universal mantra in the yogic tradition is Om, or in its Sanskrit transliteration, Aum. Georg Feuerstein, in his translation of The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, writes: "Since the earliest times the sages of India have symbolized the Absolute by the morpheme Om. The humming of Om is, in fact, one of the oldest and most widely practiced techniques of yoga."

The ancient yogis knew what scientists have discovered recently: matter and energy are just different manifestations of the same thing; the entire universe is moving, and nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om, the cosmic syllable; the primal sound of which the Universe is created.

Before beginning each yoga lesson we use chanting as a centering technique to let go of the concerns of daily life and attune to our inner guidance. We usually chant Om-kara (kara means sound) 3 times. It is also beautiful to chant Om 5 times at different pitches of the voice: low pitch (body), medium pitch (mind), high pitch (spirit), then medium pitch (mind) and low pitch (body) again. While chanting at the low pitch we concentrate on vibrations of our physical body. We ascend to medium pitch to realign and harmonize the more subtle bodies of our beings. As we chant the highest pitch we go to the spiritual dimension - we expand and unite our inner little selves with the Universe - the Higher Self. After expansion we come back to the room at medium pitch, and then we are merging with the physical body again while we chant at low pitch of Om-kara.

Chanting is distinctly different from singing. It is more like intoning a sound so anyone can do it. When we intone O, the throat opens up and the energy/sound rises upward from deep within the body. With the prolonged Mmm, the mouth closes and the energy goes to the head with strong humming vibration. The sound does not need to be loud or long. Experiment by creating a sound with the least possible tension in your throat, face and body. Let the sound resonate. After you finish chanting, sit quietly and observe yourself: you may feel more relaxed, calm and silent. The energy of Om ultimately reminds us of our interconnected-ness to life everywhere. You may sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.

Chanting keeps your mind focused and tends to prolong exhalation, which shifts the balance toward the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore lowers the heart rate, and calms the busy mind. A recent study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute suggests that humming sounds - like those made while chanting Om - open the sinuses and facilitate drainage. Chanting also works on a purely energetic level, by invoking in you positive vibrations, and creating some vibratory changes in your state of consciousness that unites you with the higher consciousness of the Universe. When done in a group, chanting can be a particularly powerful physical and emotional experience that creates a deep sense of inner peace.

Chanting is a very important yogic technique. However, if you are not comfortable with chanting during the lesson, it is perfectly fine - you can just breathe deeply instead.

karen sullivan (Author) 2010-06-01 21:42:58

:) :cheer:
Only registered users can write comments!


  • WARRIOR II POSE (Virabhadrasana II)       Contra-indications: High blood pressure, heart disease or stroke, diarrhea How to perform: Begin standing, finding your widest comfortable stride with feet parallel to each other. Keeping the...
  • WARRIOR I POSE (Virabhadrasana I)       Contra-indications: High blood pressure, heart problems, knee injuries. How to perform: Start in Tadasana. Turn the left foot 45 degrees out and make as big step forward as possible with the right...
  • TREE POSE (Vrkshasana)       In the Tree Pose (Vrkshasana), the roots, or the standing foot, press down and connect to the earth for support while the branches, or arms, extend towards the sun. This graceful posture...
  • PLANK POSE (Chaturanga Dandasana)       Contra-indications: Recent or chronic injury to the back or shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome, recent abdominal surgery. How to perform: Begin on the hands and knees with the hands beneath...
  • WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD BEND (Prasarita Padottanasana)       Contra-indications: Lower-back problems - avoid the full forward bend. How to perform: Step your feet apart as wide as possible keeping them parallel. Place your hands on your hips....
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7


  • Cooling Breath (Sheetali Pranayama )       Contraindications: Low blood pressure, chronic constipation, respiratory disorders. How to perform: Sit comfortably, keep the eyes gently closed and relax the whole body. Stick your...
  • Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) The practice of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath) restores, equalizes and balances the flow of prana in the body. The word shodhana means to cleanse or purify, the word nadi refers to the network...
  • Victorious breath (Ujjayi breath) Ujjayi in Sanskrit means "victorious”,  and it comes from two words: ud  that meaning "bondage" and ji which is translated as "conquering", therefore ujjayi is the breath which gives freedom from...
  • About Pranayama We can live without eating for some weeks, without drinking for some days, but without breathing only for a few minutes. Breath is life, however most people rarely or never pay any attention...

Site Search

Google Translate

English Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) French German Hindi Italian Norwegian Polish Russian Spanish Swedish Maltese


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

ZoyaYoga Twitter

zoyayoga's avatar
Zoya Lu zoyayoga

Students Feedback

  • Private Lessons More than a teacher, Zoya is a healer of mind, body and spirit. She brings awareness of, and opens the pathways between them. Zoya taught me how to discover...
  • Vinyasa Yoga Dearest Zoya,   Thanks to YOU for sharing your teaching with an open heart - for your dedication sending regular emails and updates online to keep. I...
  • De-stress Yoga Thanks alot for the yoga classes, Zoya. It has opened another world for me. It was my doctor who recommended yoga for me to relax and bring down my blood...
  • Hatha Yoga Intermediate Course (HYIC) Zoya brings yoga to her students in a very holistic way. Her website and the work that she is doing are amazing and her sharing is so generous. Besides...
  • Hatha Yoga Foundation Course (HYFC) Since I started Yoga I have learned how to relax and be more peaceful with myself. I am always looking forward to my next class as there is always new...
  • 1
  • 2