Fri, June 24
Yoga at lunch
Yeah, I’m supposed to run 30 – 40 minutes on Friday, but I’ve found that my long runs on Saturday are better if I don’t so so be it! But, nothing is not an option – so enter yoga, class number three of the week!
Have I mentioned how much I love yoga? It is just so many layers of awesome. The Friday instructor is amazing. She brings so much energy to the class, but also makes it a challenge and encourages us to do the poses the right way, but also safely.
Today I experienced my first time with the yoga “om” sound. Towards the beginning of the class, with our hands to heart center we were to set our prayer intention. Then she said “we will say one om all together”. I did not say it as I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, but entire room erupted in the “om” sound for about 15-20 seconds.
So I had to look it up…
According to Swami Sivananda Saraswati…”Om is the basis of all sounds. Om consists of three letters, A, U and M. A, U, M cover the whole range of sound vibrations. The larynx and the palate are the sounding boards. When you pronounce A, no part of the tongue or palate is touched. When you pronounce U, the sound rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding-board of the mouth. M is the last sound which is produced by closing the two lips. Therefore, all sounds are centred in Om.”
And Sherry Roberts writes: “The crowds at Woodstock I chanted it in hopes the world would give peace a chance. Paramahansa Yogananda called it “the vibration of the Cosmic Motor.” The great father of yoga, Patanjali, advised using it to overcome the obstacles and distractions in life — all those stones in the path of enlightenment.
Aum (or as Westerners like to spell it: om) is a vital part of the science of yoga. It’s a tool, a phenomenon, a mystery. To many people, aum is just a word chanted in meditation or as a closing prayer in yoga practice. However, translator and Bhagavad Gita scholar Barbara Stoler Miller notes that “according to the ancient Indian traditions preserved in the Upanishads, all speech and thought are derived from one sound aum. It expresses the ultimate reality.”
Aum is considered the all-connecting sound of the universe — one word interpreted as having three sounds representing creation, preservation, and destruction. Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar devotes nearly two pages in his book, Light on Yoga, to the various meanings of aum. “The letter A symbolizes the conscious or waking state,” Iyengar says, “the letter U the dream state, and the letter M the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit.” The entire symbol, Iyengar says, stands for the”realization of man’s divinity within himself.”
Aum became the sacred word hum of the Tibetans, amin of the Moslems, and amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Christians. Amen in Hebrew means “sure, faithful.”
Paramahansa Yogananda writes of the aum as the “Word” of the Bible, as the Holy Spirit. In the Christian Bible, Sat-Tat-Aum is spoken of as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. According to Yogananda, all aspiring yogis seek to commune with aum and understand it. “Audible utterance of aum produces a sense of sacredness…however, real understanding of aum is obtained only by hearing it internally and then becoming one with it in all creation.”
I especially like the bolded part that talks about how different cultures and religions have embraced the word. There seems to be some Truth that comes from that. Very cool.