14 Mar The benefits of chanting “OM”
Chanting, while not the focus for most yoga classes these days, is often incorporated into the start or end (or both) to add just another layer to the practice. It’s a beautiful way to bring in the ancient healing benefits of sound and mantra into our more physical based classes. The sound ‘Om’ in particular is said to be the sound of everything or the sound of the universe. It has the power to reverberate through the entire body, which is both energising as well as calming on the entire system. It also allows us to begin and end our practice as a community rather than a single student.
We looked into the scientific and spiritual reasons behind chanting the mantra OM.
It allows us to calm the mind and reduce stress.
The mantra OM is designed to bring peace and calm to both the body and the mind. In studies looking into participants who were new to chanting, participants were recorded chanting their very first time, then some time later after engaging in a regular practice. At the start, there were irregular waveforms recorded in their chanting, suggesting an unsteady mind. When they returned, their mind was seen to be significantly more calm and steady. And it’s known that when the mind is steady, stress is reduced.
It creates deeper relaxation and healing for the body
When we can calm the mind, the body can become more relaxed and breathing can become smoother and slower. Studies have show that these elements of chanting together – the calming of the mind and the slowing of the body – can actually trigger healing on a cellular level. Allowing ourselves to heal the body from the inside out.
Deeper focus and relaxation allows us to tune into our body in our yoga practice
When we are calm, focused, and relaxed, we are in a good place for our physical practice. When we use mantra to help us get there at the start of our practice, we have the space in both the body and the mind to go deeper into our practice. But to do so with a deeper awareness of the body. When we are listening and tuned into our body we limit injuries and stop ourselves going further than we are capable of on any given day.
All of this prepares us for deeper meditation
It’s said that mantra and chanting clears the energy around you. That coupled with the relaxation of the body and focus of the mind, creates the perfect space for a deep and healing meditation practice.
It cleanses the yoga shala
A place where yoga is practised is called a shala. And that shala is exposed to all of the energies of each and every yogi that comes in and out. Which means sometimes there will be some heavy stuff left on the mat. When we chant, we cleanse the energy of the space allowing positive and healing energy to radiate for our own practice but also for those who will practice after us.