Aum – Om

a + u + m + silence = om + silence
pranava: pervades all of life

- Produced in the back of the throat.
- Vibrates low in the body, in the belly and low chest.
- Mouth is relaxed
- While vocalizing, begin closing mouth to make the sound “oo.”
- Vibrates in chest and throat.
- Nasal humming
- Gradually close the lips.
- Vibrates in head and throat.

Silence: final resonance of the “soundless sound”

When chanting “om,” consider that all vocalization is an expression of communication. Just as the yogi aims to perform yoga postures with a balance of strength (sthira) and ease (sukha), chanting is an opportunity to express this same balance vocally. Chanting in the company of others is an opportunity to both give and receive simultaneously. One’s voice should not be harsh or loud. There is not a desire to dominate the discussion. One’s voice should be clear and true. Do not be afraid to let your voice be heard.

Bring special care to the tone of your voice, the volume of your voice, and the meaning of your words. Find a meaning of “om” that resonates with you and think of that as you chant the sound. If you have some aversion to the sound “om,” use another sound or mantra that you respect and about which you have positive feelings.

Try to balance all aspects (a+u+m+silence) in time, tone, and quality. There is no hurry. Nor is there any need to thoroughly exhaust the capabilities of your lungs. Please value the quality and intention of your chant, rather than the mere volume or duration. Allow the sound to resonate in the chambers and cavities of your body, just as a note resonates in the hollow chamber of a guitar. Feel as though the sound emerges from the back of the throat, rather than through the mouth

Aum is known as the “root mantra” or “seed mantra,” because it represents the sum of all potential sound. According to Mr. TKV Desikachar, “om” symbolizes “All that there is to know, Timelessness, Consciousness.”

A: 1st letter of Sanskrit alphabet
M: Last letter of Sanskrit alphabet
Aum “is the sum and substance of all the words that can emanate from the human throat.” (1)

Aum: all things that can be expressed with words
Silence: all things that cannot


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Updated February 6, 2006