Om is a Hindu sacred sound that is considered the greatest of all mantras. It is composed of three sounds a-u-m. In Sanskrit, the A and U combine to become O.
Pranayama is the regulation of breath through techniques and exercises.
Vedas are Hindu scripture dating between 1500-1200 bce.
The tradition of yoga includes the devotional practice of the chant. Aum, the simplest chant, is a call for unity at the beginning and end of each class. It is the distillation of all sound. I sat in meditation one day and heard the Aum of the ocean, the Aum of the fog horn, and the Aum of my cat snoring, all at once. Anywhere on earth, if you pause to listen, you will hear the great unifier Aum. Aum requires that we rest in the present moment.
We are vibrational beings.
When we sing together each of us calls forth from within a vibration and merges it with the vibration of others; it is a generous, unifying gesture. Chanting together quickly brings students- who may arrive with individual burdens or joys- to a state of equalizing vibration. We tune ourselves to each other at the most basic level and so announce our intention to practice together.
Physically, the chant clears the lungs, throat, mouth, and sinuses and stimulates essential juice (rasa). Chanting awakens the soft palate, that sheath just under the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. Chanting warms the chest, the area around the heart, and prepares the body for pranayama. The chant will purify the subtle body as well, bringing balance and tone to an overwrought nervous system.
Newton’s first law tells us that energy is neither created nor destroyed. Sound accretes and transforms but never dies. Some of the Sanskrit chants we sing are ancient, dating back to the Vedas. Through the gift of our voices we can harness the energy and intention of yogis who lived several thousand years ago. The vibration of the music exists whether we choose to chant or not, when we take it into ourselves and send it out again through our own channels, we are keeping alive its healing properties.
When a student feels uncomfortable chanting in class, silent participation is best. The vibration passes through everyone in the room.
Music – and the voices engaged in it- has the power to heal.
-Judith Mcclain, 2007
Today, there were 4 men and 4 women in my yoga class. I really love it when men come to class because I feel that the practice is not defined by gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Of course there is some religious influence because its roots stem from the Hindu religion, but overall, the practice is what you personally make of it. There is this notion in America that yoga is feminine. It’s in magazines, movies, and on TV. I feel it is up to all us yogis to change minds and hearts, so that everyone (whether they practice or not) knows that yoga is universal.
My yoga is feminine, masculine, and the unifying knowledge of both.
My yoga is the earth, the atmosphere, and the oneness of the universe.
My yoga is within me, and respects and admires the yoga within you.
We’re bringing it back! Here is today’s new Meditation Monday by Madison Adams!
1. a thing intended; an aim or plan.
“she was full of good intentions”
2. the healing process of a wound.
1. Today, my intention is to let go of worry; to allow my thoughts and energies to flow through my fingers, and into this keyboard.
2. Today, my intention is to love myself so that I may love others just as deeply.
Start small. Set an intention every day. Today, I will wear two different socks, and be o.k. with it. Today, I will find a new recipe that revolves around vegetables so I have more in my diet. Today, I will bring a warm beverage to a Salvation Army bell ringer. Today, instead of retaliating when I have been hurt, I will remove myself from the situation, and talk about it later.
You may be surprised to find that intentions that seem grand to most, become second nature to you.
Dahlias and Daisies. Fire pits. Running fingers through my hair. Wiggling toes. Warm strawberry rhubarb pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Springtime sunrise on my back porch. Dissipating fog. Sunsets in Sedona. Baby animal noses and noises. Bubbles. The smell of fresh baked cookies. Rainbows. Best friends. Dancing. Bees. Naps on the sunny side of my couch. Hula hoops. Singing as loud as I can in my car. Farmer’s markets. Dogs. When little kids tell stories. Deaf culture. Yoga. Science. Music that gives me goosebumps. Coloring. Coconut. Vermont. My Adventure Time blanket. Nature documentaries. Birthdays. Laser tag. Siblings. Things that light up. Freckles. Craft beer. When you make me dinner. When you do things I want to do, even when you’d rather not, and still keep an open mind. The way you smile when you’re uncomfortable. The way you manage to make every anxious moment silly. The way you look at me. How you are a part of everything I love; every moment; every day.