Why We Om
You know the moment at the end of a sweaty, exhausting, and amazing yoga class. After you wake up from delicious Savasana with a cold towel in your eyes, surrounded by others who shared the energy and space with you, who went through the same (physical) practice next to you, and the instructor who held space and lead every movement. Together we bring our hands to heart center in prayer, Om, and then bow down, saying, “Namaste.” Just writing those words travel me back to those moments at Shakti and bring a big smile to my face.
When I first started practicing it was a very much physical practice. It was all for the “workout” and the cool poses. Little did I know that everything I was doing had so much meaning, and that it was more of a “work in”. I remember getting to the end of class and going through Om and Namaste and wondering, “What the f%^& is this?” but still doing it because it felt good. But my practice was enhanced and changed as I started to understand.
Because of this experience, I have always felt that it is important that now, as a teacher, I make sure my students experience yoga with a deeper understanding of what they are doing.
Several times during class we use the prayer gesture or, in Sanskrit, Anjali Mudra, when our hands come together at heart center. We often use it at the end of class to connect the right and left hemispheres of our brain as a process of unification. We bring them to the heart chakra to represent balance and harmony, left and right, reunited in our center. With hands pushed together we Om.
Om is a sacred sound and mantra which represents the sound of the universe.
When we chant this sound, we are recognizing our connection to everything in the universe. We are all coming together as one. When you slowly say it, the sound of Om (AUM) increases your sense of calm and wellbeing and relaxes the nervous system.
At the end of class when we bring our hands into Anjali Mudra, we repeat the word Namaste after the instructor as a symbol of gratitude towards ourselves and others around us. And we recognize the light and energy shared by others during class:
“The light in me honors your light.” “Nama” means bow, “as” means I, and “te” means you. All together, "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
The next time you practice be mindful of the meaning behind these amazing gestures and sounds, and you will feel how that knowledge elevates your practice.
Much Love <3