The sacred syllable OM, ॐ [AUM], is the primary symbol and sound of the creator or supreme God with infinite manifestations. The symbol OM is found in the Hindu conception as the supreme sound or Sabda. This mystical syllable contains and closes all that is sacred in Hinduism.
OM (ॐ): The representation of Creation
The Sanskrit word OM (ॐ) is pronounced AUM and represents the threefold time division (wakefulness, dreaming, and deep sleep). It represents God, the source of universal Consciousness.
OM is considered the primordial, ever-humming sound of creation, representing everything in the creation. This primal sound allows its practitioners to cultivate energy that flows upward through the chakras and then outward through the crown chakra.
OM is the very evocation of the universal soul, known as the Pranava Mantra. OM is the reflection of the known absolute reality, without beginning or end, and embracing everything that exists, representing the supreme vibration, the infinite.
According to yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism texts, OM is also considered the mother of mantras – short and strong sounds related to each chakra. It connects to the third eye or the crown chakra, connecting us with the Divinity.
Benefits of OM Chanting
Here are the benefits you can get by chanting OM or performing Meditation practices involving OM.
1. Mental health benefits (Reduce stress)
A scientific study of NCBI found that this mantra reduces activity in the limbic system, which is the part of the brain associated with stress and emotions. By monitoring brain activity, researchers found that incantation relaxes the brain and thus could reduce stress.
Another study found that it could be used to treat depression. Meditating OM helps to release endorphins which help you feel relaxed and refreshed. It also reduces adrenaline levels which often trigger stress. In other words, this meditation helps balance hormones and reduce mood swings.
2. Improves Focus and Concentration
If you are familiar with meditation, you can imagine how this benefit takes place. The yogic texts remind us of the 8 limbs of yoga, and the sixth is Dharana, the Sanskrit word for concentration.
In concentration practice, one can meditate and chant mantras to reach maximum concentration. In this context, this means that the yogi is fully present, and thus there is the possibility of slowing down the mind to focus on a single subject or reducing it to complete silence.
3. Chakra’s Activation
OM is in connection to the body’s chakras. The main chakras are located in the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. These chakras are like energy centers, and when they receive the influence of the sounds of the OM, they react positively, triggering internal energies and reactivating the person’s energy balance.
4. Mitigation of Stomach Problems
A Harvard study found that chanting OM can alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and improve bowel health. The study showed that participants inducing the relaxation response reduced poor digestion symptoms, decreased anxiety, and a better life.
5. Cardiovascular benefits
In the past, meditation has been shown to improve heart health. Practicing by chanting the mantra OM several times a row can be a form of meditation. A 2006 study looked at the effects of transcendental meditation, a form of meditation in which the practitioner continually repeats a mantra OM. The regular chanting of OM could improve blood pressure and lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
6. Eliminate Negativity
The enchantment of the mantra OM creates a positive vibration in the body, which can then attract positive energy in your life. Enchantments allow you to focus on the third eye chakra and look inward. If the negative thoughts are disturbing you, try chanting the mantra OM a few times, and you will only have good results.
7. Improve Lungs Health
Om has real virtues for the body, especially in form of breathing exercises. It vibrates the rib cage, and the inside of the body vibrates at its sound. The lungs benefit from the deep exhalation that precedes it, opening fully. Breathing clears all the impure and stale air from the lungs. The yoga practices and Om are therefore indicated to ventilate and purify oneself – preferably in a space well-ventilated for you.
8. Makes your surrounding better
Chanting OM is beneficial not only for those who practice but also for those around them. Pronouncing OM produces sacred vibrations overruling the negativities circulating in the surrounding environment. Also, chanting OM maintains or prevents positivity from leaving the premises.
9. Strengthens the spinal cord
It has been found that chanting OM while sitting (back straight) in meditation has an impact on the spinal cord. OM’s Aa sound comes from the naval root, which is found near the spinal cord. The vibrations reverberate throughout the spinal cord to revitalize the nerves. This further improves function and strengthens the spinal cord.
10. Maintain the Rhythmic heartbeat
Chanting OM has a calming effect on the heart. It maintains the natural rhythm of the heartbeat. When we start chanting OM, the sound Oohm reaches the upper body from its original navel position. This spreads throughout the practitioner’s thoracic region and preserves the heart’s natural rhythm.
11. Enhance Emotional Well-being
If you feel down, chanting OM can help you connect with Self and balance your emotions. You may find that as you chant, your mind begins to clear. It is because you are focusing on the sound or vibration that OM is making. OM has the same frequency as everything in nature, allowing you to connect deeply and turn inward.
12. Greater mental alertness
The research showed that OM chanting can improve alertness, even when already relaxed, a fact noted by a reduction in heart rate. A group of meditators who chanted OM showed a statistically significant reduction in their heart rate compared to a control group engaged in non-targeted thinking.
Studies have shown greater mental alertness combined with a relaxed state during OM chanting and a greater sense of sharpening. In other words, chanting OM and meditating help you become more present by getting deeply in touch with your body and environment through sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
13. Improve sleep quality
Stress and busy lifestyles affect people’s health and sleep patterns. But people who meditate and chant OM before sleep can enjoy sleeping with a more peaceful mind. Sleep rhythms gradually become regular, and quality improves.
Some Ways to Chant ‘OM’
There are several ways to chant the “Om” mantra:
- Silent or Mental Chanting: This involves silently repeating the sound “Om” in your mind, focusing on the vibration of the sound.
- Audible Chanting: This involves chanting “Om” out loud, either alone or in a group.
- Chanting with Music: Some people find it helpful to chant “Om” along with music, such as devotional songs or instrumental pieces.
- Chanting with Breath Awareness: This involves paying attention to your breath as you chant “Om” and using the sound to guide your breath.
- Chanting with Visualization: This involves visualizing the sound of “Om” as you chant it, imagining it filling your body and spreading out into the world.
Regardless of the method you choose, the key to effective “Om” chanting is to focus your mind on the sound and let go of any distractions. The goal is to cultivate a sense of peace, relaxation, and well-being.
There are a lot of amazing benefits when chanting the OM mantra. To realize all the benefits of chanting OM, you must practice and feel the experience. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate and chant OM, you can chant OM as many times as you want, but the ideal number would be 108 times.