Before we get started with some Yoga 101, please note that “Ohm” is the Standard International (SI) unit of electrical resistance that was discovered by Georg Simon Ohm. The symbol looks like this:
This is not to be confused with the Om or Aum symbol used in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition.
Om and Aum are the same thing; it’s just written two different ways. It is believed that the sound of “Aum” – the slow, calming chant many associate with the word, is the sound that was made when all of creation came into existence. This symbol is a sacred syllable representing the essence of the universe and all creation known as Brahman.
Just as Brahman is the culmination of everything, so is the Aum symbol. It’s written in Sanskrit, and each part of the symbol has a significant meaning, relating to different levels of consciousness.
The large, bottom curve represents the normal state of being awake. The curve above it stands for the sleeping state, while the curve emanating out from the center of the two represents the dreaming state.
Those are the three states of consciousness that every human experiences.
The dot and the open curve above that is what elevates the symbol to a much higher and more sacred meaning. The dot signifies the fourth and highest state of consciousness, Turiya. Turiya is not a state apart from the lesser states of consciousness, but pervades all levels of reality as transcended consciousness or pure being.
The semi circle at the top represents Maya which gives us the illusion that we are separate from realization of the Highest Level of consciousness.
The chanting of Om has three subtle parts sounding like A-U-M. It is an uplifting and powerful practice to connect to the deeper meaning of life and higher consciousness. The shared vibration and sound can touch us deeply. Take a few moments to enjoy the good vibrations from this chanting meditation with Tibetan Singing Bowls.
The next time you are in a yoga class, and the teacher leads an Om chant, why not join in. Open your heart, let go of your ego, and experience it for yourself. Chant as if no one is listening.