Traditionally yogis chant Om at the beginning of the class to clear the mind for meditation, and bring about an expansion of our energy by drawing in the vital energy of the universe (cosmic prana). It is made up of three Sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, combined together, make the sound Aum or Om. This sound brings us closer to the outside world, to other human beings and to our true nature - our own pure self. This can lift the veil of 'separateness' and bring us
The energetic sound of Om is considered to be the sound of creation and the sound that can be heard when we tune into our pure inner self. Patanjali (the father of yoga) wrote in The Yoga Sutras (from which Iyengar is based) that the chanting of Om can make us free from obstacles and provide us a glimpse of the inner self.
The sound vibration of the chanting draws a current up the spine through the chakras and out the top of the head bringing deep healing energy into the subconscious mind and removing negativity.
At the beginning chanting can seem a little strange and it is ok to just sit and listen, in fact it is just as important to listen as it is to chant - both must be done at the same time. With the focus on listening, gradually you can relax more and maybe some time in the future you will feel comfortable to join in with the chanting.
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I am Adrienne Bagnall -Iyengar yoga teacher, therapist , movement teacher and energy worker. Hope you enjoy my website and blog.