What is OHM?


What is OHM?

You may have heard or even participated in “oming” in a yoga class, but what does it really mean to “om”?  Where did it come from and what’s the purpose?   I remember the first time I was in class I felt embarrassed and even a little self conscious making this sound.  It felt way too yoga-ish for me.   I knew that I for SURE would never teach a class that “omed”.   Weird.  Totally weird.   Not for me.   Then I learned more.   I discovered that the very sound and vibration of the sound of ohm as it passes through your body shifts our cells, brain and spirit.   Yogis have been oming for thousands of years, when we chant we’re connecting with one another with this rich lineage and ancient ritual.

"Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us—that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.

Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing." - Cyndi Lee | Yoga Journal Oct 7, 2014

O-H-M are the three basic sounds that a human can make.   OHM is beyond thought and means “no” – “thing”.  In other words it means NOTHING.   

Let’s break it down.  

“ahh,” relax the jaw. The vibration rises from the belly, lips are parted, the tongue is relaxed.

“ooooh,” the lips gently come together as the sound moves from the belly to the solar plexes and the heart.

“mmm,” the tongue floats to the roof of the mouth, and the lips come together to create a buzzing vibration in the skull and brain. this sound can be twice as long as the others.

Silence follows,  the sound fades into no-thing.

It is said to be both the sound of the creation of the universe, and the sound of silence. 

Nancy Anderson