Whenever you are starting or ending your yoga session, most likely you will chant at least one Om. And if you are a traditional ashtangi, than you will definitely chant Om to open and close mantras both at the beginning and at the end of your practice. Have you ever wondered why? What’s the point of reciting Om?
All is OM. The entire universe is the syllable Om. (…). Everything in the past, present and future is verily OM. That which is beyond time, space and causation is also OM – Mandukya Upanishad
His name (of Ishvara, the Divine) is Om – 1.27 Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
OM is considered the most sacred, mystical and powerful amongst mantras, where a mantra is a particular combination of sounds arranged in a specific way to produce a specific kind of vibration so to produce a particular state of consciousness.
It is considered the most sacred as it is said to be of the same nature of the Divine, meaning that – when recited in a specific manner – it can reveal the consciousness and release the power of the Divine itself. In fact, Patanjali associates 2 direct benefits to the practice of Om chanting:
From that comes realization of the Atman, the individual Self, and the removal of ostacles – 1.29 PYS
that is to say:
a. turning of the awareness in – encompassing the whole aim of yoga, i.e. the withdrawal of consciousness from without to within;
b. overcoming the obstacles encountered on the path of yoga.
Than, what is that specific way of chanting Om? Again Patanjali comes to an help:
Om should be constantly repeated and meditated upon – 1.28 PYS
Constant repetition and meditation on its meaning… well, sounds like it is required a lot more than just a couple of Oms included in a yoga session. I. K. Taimni says:
They (many people) believe that by merely repeating a mantra a few times they can obtain the desired result. They cannot. A mantra can no more give in this way the result for which it is devised than a seed of a mango tree can satisfy a man who is hungry – The science of Yoga
And this is because the power of mantra is potential and to get activated requires time and dedication. I know, it can sound a bit disheartening but if we think about the promised results, it seems like it’s really worth a try 🙂 And, to my personal experience, even a single Om can be very helpful if we have built a little reservoir from which to draw. What is yours?