One for All and All for Om

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Maybe lying on the floor is no problem for you, but everything after that is a real challenge. It isn't easy to relax, let alone clear the mind. Om to the rescue! We've mentioned the mantra Om a few times already in this book, but let's look at it again in terms of its power to center and relax you. Om is the sound frequently chanted by yogis, because it is an all-encompassing sound. According to yogic thought, if all of life were translated into a single sound, the sound of the universe, that sound would be Om.

Try saying the sound now, right where you are sitting (or standing, or lying down, or wherever you happen to be at the moment). Take a deep breath, breathing from the diaphragm, and sing out the "O" sound as long as you can without your voice faltering. Don't be afraid to put some sound and strength behind it. If you're worried about keeping your volume down too much, you might not give the sound the breath support it requires. Stay strong and sing out the sound, which is pronounced like "OH," then slowly let the "O" sound come to a close in a resonating, vibrating "MMMMM" sound.

Now take a breath, close your eyes this time, and try it again. Let the sound stretch out for as long as you can with the support of a deep breath. Use up all your breath, but don't strain yourself. Doesn't that feel good? Do it again if you'd like to. Notice how, when your entire body is vibrating with that sound, it's easier to concentrate on the breath and the sound than whether to have dessert with dinner tonight or whether you can convince someone else to do the dishes.

Also notice how much Om sounds like "amen." If you've been to or go to church, you've probably heard the "amen" sung at the end of every hymn. Have you ever noticed that when a chorus of voices sings "amen," the voices often bloom from a single note into a harmony, like a multipetaled flower opening in sound? Think how nicely this concept fits into the yoga way of thinking. Many voices harmonize to form a single, beautiful sound that is more complete than one voice alone, just as the universe is a beautiful blending of each soul into a single vibration of love.

A Yoga Minute

Gandhi's last words to his assailant as he fell to the ground, January 30, 1948, from a gunshot wound, were "Rama, Rama," which means "Praise God." This is the essence of yoga: to have one's thoughts continuously uplifted, even (especially!) in the transition from one existence to another.

A Yoga Minute

Gandhi's last words to his assailant as he fell to the ground, January 30, 1948, from a gunshot wound, were "Rama, Rama," which means "Praise God." This is the essence of yoga: to have one's thoughts continuously uplifted, even (especially!) in the transition from one existence to another.

In a nutshell, the point of chanting Om is to let the incredible power of sound and vibration work for you, pushing away worldly concerns and physical discomforts to bring your mind to a singular (yet universal) focus. Try it the next time you try the corpse pose. You'll be blissfully surprised!

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Beginners Guide To Yoga

Beginners Guide To Yoga

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