Janet Abel a   Hampton Roads, Virginia based Yoga Alliance registered instructor, La   Yoga Loca, because life gets crazyEach week of class marks the exploration of a new theme from yoga philosophy or practice¬† during a short talk before active asanas. This week’s theme is the giant subject of a tiny word: the mantra aum (or om).

What is Aum? We chant it at the beginning of each class and at the end of the invocation to Patanjali. It can be found in the 8 Petals studio, painted in gold, above Ganesh, the elephant. But what does Aum mean?

Aum can be defined many ways, including god or divinity, oneness, Earth, Creation, the heart of existence, essential reality or the spoken essence of the universe.

Whatever a person’s belief system, they can potentially benefit from the chanting of om, through the “relaxation response.” The relaxation response is the term describing the way the body naturally relaxes when exhalation is elongated, as during the chanting of Aum.

What is your experience? Do you feel any difference after chanting?

For those wanting to explore this vast subject further, here are two possible books to begin with:

“The Yoga of Sound: Healing & Enlightenment through the Sacred Practice of Mantra” by Russill Paul


“Aum: The Infinite Energy” by Vinod Verma