om

I just can’t wait to Om

Sometimes there is this moment when I am in class, and the teacher holds a longer pause than usual before the second Om, and I’m waiting, and waiting, and almost want to start the next Om for them, because I just CAN’T wait! It’s like, is it now? Not yet? I want to Om!

But the thing is, that long pause is supposed to be there. There are four parts to the sound of Om: Aaaaah, Uuuuuu, Mmmmm, and the silence that comes after. And although hearing the sound of Om is special, hearing the silence  and feeling the vibration is even more so. This is the sound of yoga.

I have two thoughts about this:

1)Many of us are always looking to the future. We just can’t wait for the next thing. The new spring line of clothing. The newest technology. The new season of Game of Thrones. Predicting what is going to happen on the new Game of Thrones. Rather than being in the present moment, we are always looking for the next best thing. This happens in an asana class also – thinking you know what is coming next in a sequence (because trikoṇāsana HAS to come before vīrabhadrāsana II, right?) Or being one step ahead of the teacher during sūrya namaskāra. I’m ready for the next Om! Where is it??

2) In discussing this with a friend, she also brought up the idea of not being able to handle the silence. Of being afraid of the silence. Of having a moment to actually hear your constant thoughts, or citta vṛttis. We live in an age of constant worry (about the past and future) and sustained din, especially if you live in an urban area (where there is worry and din.) If you don’t live in an urban area, there is still the always available and attention grabbing phones, music, tv, etc. For many, silence is scary. It is an unknown entity. Many are afraid of the unknown, and therefore try to predict the future (see #1. It’s all just a vicious circle.)

It is not a true silence we are seeking though. Well, eventually it is. But first, according to the Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā, we want to hear Nāda. I am not referring to the Spanish word that means nothing, but it’s a nice resemblance. Nāda is the sound of yoga, the sound of the universe, or essentially, Om. The Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā (HYP) is a book that outlines the physical practices that will allow us to achieve yoga. The idea of nāda does not appear until the very end of the book – saving the best for last right? All of the physical yogic practices that we do both in an asana class and outside in the “real” world, are to prepare us to hear nāda. Chanting Om gives us a little taste of what nāda is – especially that 4th part of om, the silence and vibration you feel after making the audible sounds.

In regards to eventually hearing nothing at all (nada in the Spanish sense!), the HYP also states that in Samādhi, not even Nāda is heard. With that, I’ll close with two verses from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra:

PYS 1.1: atha yoga-anuśāsanam Now (right now! Not before or after! Now!) this is Yoga as I have observed it in the natural world.

PYS 1.2 yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ Yoga is when the fluctuations of the mind cease to exist (I am paraphrasing.)

Don’t be afraid to be in the present moment. Don’t be afraid of the silence. Don’t be afraid to sit with the silence. To listen to the sound of silence. To FEEL the sound of yoga. SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES. 

theOm

 

Categories: Hatha Yoga Pradipika, jivamukti, om, Yoga, Yoga Sutras | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cookies, Sutras, and the Magic of Chanting

“Linguistically and vibrationally it expresses our deepest core.  The elegant sounds of Sanskrit gently coax our hearts to soar to their highest potential, the luminous whole that we all are.” 

~ Manorama

As I briefly spoke about in my last post about the power of om, Sanskrit is a vibrational language that you can feel in every ounce of your body. When speaking Sanskrit words out loud, or especially when chanting them, there is a potency that taps into the core essence of the universe. Because of this, it is said that even if you don’t know the meaning of the words you are chanting, you still get all of the benefit of saying them.

Exactly 3 months ago I started memorizing the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Samadhih Padah, and today (the timing is completely unintentional…) I finished my goal…2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule! (And although I just stated that even if you don’t know what it means, you get the benefit, I do know what some of it means, and I read it in English too!!)

Some say (i.e. Tamar) that my cookies taste so good because I chant sutras while I am making them. Well, here you go – as promised, attached is a video of me chanting the entire first chapter…while baking. If you want to order some of these magic cookies, you can do so here.

I’ve also posted the first chapter here, so you can chant with me 🙂

YS CH 1 Pg 1
YS CH 1 Pg 2

Categories: Cookies, om, Yoga, Yoga Sutras | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Power of Om

omOm

“It is also called nadam because it is the supreme music present everywhere eternally…The entire universe is penetrated by this supreme music. In an individual it is manifested as a ringing sound in one’s head. By meditating on it, yogins feel increase in intensity and volume and ultimately they realize that the entire universe is vibrating in nadam.” (Jivamukti FoM, June 2000)

Om (pronounced AHH-OOO-MMM), when chanted, vibrates throughout your body, starting in your abdomen, moving through your heart, and then finally into your skull. Om was the first sound that was, when the world was created, and it resonates in all that surrounds us. It is universal. It is boundless joy. We are “om.”

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it is referred to as pranava, ever renewing, and each time it is said, you are renewed, “brought into alignment again.” When you chant om, you are connected to everything and anything that is part of this earth.

This past weekend, a fundraiser was held at Jivamukti to raise money to help send me to teacher training in April. The Jivamukti teacher training costs a small fortune, and although I’d received a partial scholarship already, I still need to come up with the rest of the money somehow.  I was nervous about how the class would go, and even a bit embarrassed that it was for me. After planning the event for 4 months, I wanted to run and hide. Why should all these people care about sending me to teacher training? What makes me so special?

More and more people kept piling into the room, totaling about 50. And as we started to om, I felt something move inside me. A resonating sound that filled my body with joy, and almost made me a bit teary-eyed. Not because they were all there for me. They weren’t there for me. All these people were in the room because of their love of yoga. They were not there for the amazing teachers, the live music. They were in the room because of the sound of om. And I know they all felt it also. There was definitely a tingly vibration moving throughout the room, that got bigger and better with each round we chanted. And then I knew it was ok for me to be in the room. Because I am “om.”

If you’d like to learn more about my fundraising efforts, or just read more about everything I’ve been doing to prepare myself for TT, you can do so here http://www.gofundme.com/1krdz8. I might even post a video of me chanting sutras while baking one day 😉

Categories: Fundraising, om, Yoga | 1 Comment