The Meaning of OM:
Om is the all encompassing cosmic vibration of the universe.
1) The Unconscious State:
The top curve denotes the state of deep sleep. This is where the sleeper is subconsciously shut down, desiring nothing and having no dreams.
2) The Absolute State:
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness. In this state, the consiousness looks neither outwared nor inwards. This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state in the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity.
3) The Waking State:
Represented by the large curve, this state of consciousness is turned outwards and experiences the world through the five senses. This is the most common state of human consciousness.
This is what gets in the way of our spiritual development, preventing us from realization of the highest state of bliss (the dot above this curve). This semi-circle doesn’t touch the dot, meaning that the highest state of consciousness is unaffected by Maya.
5) The Dream State :
The middle curve, which lies between deep sleep and the waking state signifies the dream state. In this state the consciousness is turned within, and the dreamer experiences a world behind closed eyes.
About OM / AUM:
Om is a mantra, or vibration, that is traditionally chanted at the beginning and end of yoga sessions. Coming from Hinduism and yoga, it is considered that the mantra has a great spiritual and creative power, but despite this, it is a mantra that everyone can recite. It is both a sound and a symbol rich in meaning and depth, and when spoken correctly it is actually an AUM.
Aum is actually composed of 3 syllables: A, U, M and the silent syllable.
The first syllable is A, pronounced as a prolonged “awe”. The sound begins at the back of your throat and you stretch it. You will begin to feel that your solar plexus and your chest are vibrating.
The second syllable is U, pronounced as an extended “oo”, the sound rolling progressively forward along its upper palate. You will feel your throat vibrate.
The third syllable is M, pronounced as an extended “mmmm” with the front teeth gently touching. Now you will begin to feel the upper part of your vibration.
The last syllable is the deep silence of the infinite. When the intelligence comes out of the deep silence, you must unite your chant from the “M” to deep silence.
Symbolically, the three letters embody the divine energy (Shakti) and have three main characteristics: (1) creation, (2) preservation and (3) liberation.
Why Do We Chant OM:
Everything in the universe vibrates and throbs, nothing is really calm! The Om sound, when chanted, vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, the same frequency of vibration found in nature.
As such, AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so when we chanting it, we symbolically and physically match that sound and recognize our connection with all other living things, nature and the universe.
In addition, vibrations and rhythmic pronunciation also have a physical effect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind in the same way as meditation. When the mind is relaxed, your blood pressure goes down and, ultimately, your heart health improves.
Finally, it is also a way to define the time of our practice for the rest of our day and to indicate that it is a special moment where we must take care of ourselves and practice our consciousness.
However, starting and / or finishing your yoga practice with AUM helps us connect to our practice more thoroughly than just physical postures.