Symbol Stories: Aum

May 28, 2021

Aum the symbol

One small sound with a multi-faceted meaning: Aum(ॐ) symbolizes a lot more than the end of a yoga class. Commonly referred to as “Om” this Sanskrit word can’t be summarized in a simple translation, as it packs a lot of meaning into one petite package.

The Aum symbol is a combination of curves, a crescent and a dot. The three curves represent our three different states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and the unconscious. The crescent shape at the top denotes Maya: the obstacle that sits in the way of reaching our highest state. The dot at the top represents the fourth state of consciousness - absolute bliss.

In Hinduism, Aum is one of the most important spiritual symbols. It’s commonly found at the beginning and end of the chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads and other sacred Hindu texts. It can be seen as an acknowledgement of the entire universe and everything inside of it.

Chanting Aum

One small sound with a multi-faceted meaning: Aum(ॐ) symbolizes a lot more than the end of a yoga class. Commonly referred to as “Om” this Sanskrit word can’t be summarized in a simple translation, as it packs a lot of meaning into one petite package.

The Aum symbol is a combination of curves, a crescent and a dot. The three curves represent our three different states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and the unconscious. The crescent shape at the top denotes Maya: the obstacle that sits in the way of reaching our highest state. The dot at the top represents the fourth state of consciousness - absolute bliss.

In Hinduism, Aum is one of the most important spiritual symbols. It’s commonly found at the beginning and end of the chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads and other sacred Hindu texts. It can be seen as an acknowledgement of the entire universe and everything inside of it.

Chanting Aum

Chanting Aum

Why do we chant Aum in yoga? It adds an element of ritual that separates the time on the mat from the complexities of daily life. The rhythmic vibrations of chanting this sound also offer calming benefits to the nervous system.

The sound of “Aum” is made up of three syllables: A,U and M. Phonetically these are expressed as "aaah," "oooh," and "mmm." After all three components of “Aum” are expressed, a fourth sound can be observed: the sound of silence. This is said to be the fourth symbol, as the sound fades away and all that’s left is the memory of sound and still state of consciousness.

The next time you are invited to chant Aum, consider its rich history. Either choose to express the sound yourself, or take a moment of silence to absorb the vibrations and allow a state of rest to wash over you.

Victoria Maybee l Mukha Yoga
By Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2021

Victoria Maybee l Mukha YogaBy Victoria Maybee; All Rights Reserved @2021



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