How to chant Om – the Sound of the Universe

When I first started practicing Yoga in the late 80’s it was with the Iyengars who were very strict about alignment and the way one should fold blankets. There was certainly no sound or chanting! I always refer to that part of my yoga journey as my army days:)

I knew in my heart that there was more to yoga than the angle at which my foot was pointing. I was craving more philosophy, more spirituality, more meaning. And so I left and set out to discover what yoga had to offer me on a deeper level.

Imagine my shock when I attended my first vinyasa class with loud rhythmic music, chanting and no props in sight. I loved the physical practice but it took me a while to get into the chanting, at first it felt like I was joining a cult.

It wasn’t long before I began to feel the benefits of chanting, and then I couldn’t get enough… I was hooked!  Now chanting and sound yoga is a big part of my practice and teaching.

If you are new to chanting, here is a little introduction and class to get you started…

Why Om?

The sound of OM or AUM is considered the original frequency of all beings and the universe. Om vibrates at the frequency of 432 Hz, the same vibrational frequency found throughout nature.

The Benefits

The sound of Om when chanted over and over can shift the energy resonance in the body mind and spirit considerably. It is said to calm and clear the mind.

Studies have shown that chanting Om daily improves attention, contributes towards a positive mood and increases feelings of social cohesion.

Feeling it

OM is pronounced ‘AaaaaaUuuuuMmmmm’. Each letter originates from a different part of the body.

The vibrations move from the base of the spine (Aaaaa) up towards the heart (Uuuuu) and finally to the head(Mmmmm) creating a buzz sensation.

The symbolism

Each letter has its own meaning:

A represents Brahma and creation

U represents Vishnu and sustenance

M represents Shiva and destruction

Doing it

The best way to feel the vibrations moving up through your body is to sit upright in a comfortable seat with a tall spine. Close your eyes, breathe deeply in and out of the nose, and begin chanting according to your own rythmic pattern.

Traditionally it is said that chanting Om for 11 minutes or 108 times brings the greatest benefits.


Here is a  short instructional video to get you started.

Enjoy the vibrational medicine of AUM.

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Barbara Courtille