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June 17, 2020 3 min read

A word, mantra, and symbol; OM (Aum, ॐ) is one of the best known yoga features in the world, with many devoted yogis choosing it for their tattoos or wearing it on their activewear and yoga mats. What is its real power and how does it translate into everything yoga actually is? Let’s find out. 

Long-standing Tradition of OM

A word, mantra, and symbol; OM (Aum, ॐ) is one of the best known yoga features in the world, with many devoted yogis choosing it for their tattoos or wearing it on their activewear and yoga mats. What is its real power and how does it translate into everything yoga actually is? Let’s find out. 

First found in a collection of ancient Sanskrit hymns called the Vedas, originating between 1500 and 1200 BC, these two letters were meant to represent a vibration, and not written text. This was later explained in other ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts as well as the famous Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, where OM symbolized a mantra that’s supposed to be the key to dharana, or concentration and focus during meditation, bringing you one step closer to reaching Dhyana, and finally, Samadhi, the oneness; the divine. 

Many Hindu and Buddhist texts also describe it as a sound containing the entire Universe, the vibration that brings everything together into one, the first sound from the beginning of the time, and the only sound that bounds the past, the present, and the future together. 

It’s also considered as one of the eight primordial shakti bijas, seeds, or single syllable mantras that carry multiple meanings depending on their intonation and the intention behind their use. As David Frawley in his book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound says, “They project various aspects of force and radiance for body, mind and consciousness. They hold, resonate, and propel the Kundalini force in specific and transformative ways.” OM carries prana, or life energy, and is therefore considered the most sacred mantra in both, Hinduism and Buddhism. 

OM or AUM?

Most probably, you’ve encountered some places where OM is written as AUM and wondered whether there’s a difference between the two. The truth is, there isn’t. AUM is just a prolonging of the individual sounds of OM because of the way chanting and vibrating it sounds. The O almost sounds like there’s an A in front of it, so in order to teach people to pronounce it correctly, the letter A was added in front. 

All three letter do have their meaning and purpose:

  • A invokes Brahma, the creative aspect
  • U invokes Vishnu, the preserver
  • M invokes Shiva, the destroyer, the destructive aspect of God

All together, these three letters represent the Divine, which is the sum of everything. 

Connection to Chakras

The famous 7 chakras represent the main energy centers in the body, and when they’re open and balanced, the energy flows freely through them, and there’s an alignment, a perfect harmony between mind, body, and spirit. 

OM resonates with the highest, 7th chakra, also known as the crown chakra, or Sahasrara, which represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. When it’s open and optimized, this chakra allows us to reach higher consciousness - OM. 

Aum (Om) symbol with mindful mantras inscribed within it

OM And The Yoga Practice

In a typical yoga class, OM is often chanted in the beginning and in the end, as a way to collect the energy of the entire room and let every person feel its vibration, fueling their practice and reaching a state of presence. It allows them to better connect to their breath and inner self, realizing they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. 

A great way to invoke the power of OM into your practice is by simply having a symbol somewhere around you or on you, making you bring your attention back to it whenever your mind starts wandering. That’s why our best-selling leggings are exactly those with the OM symbol, as many of our customers kept reaching for them in their closets when they were getting ready for their class.

Aum (Om) Yoga Leggings by Sunia Yoga

Sometimes, all it takes is a little, gentle reminder that we’re all a part of the OM, the Universe, and the Divine. So, lets all chant together: AUMShanti, Shanti, Shanti, OM.


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