by Holly Keich
Om: /ōm/ (noun) the term that I thought everyone understood when I named my business. I get a wide range of confused calls, letters or bills from people looking for O.M. Baby, Ohm (think learning about electricity in 6th grade science class) Baby, Om (pronounced ah-m) Baby and the list goes on. So apparently I was wrong. How could that be? *insert sarcasm* Not everyone knows about Om.
For those of you that have taken a yoga class, there’s a chance that you may have more knowledge of the term, but that’s not guaranteed in our westernized yoga fitness culture. Om as I describe it in my classes (to keep it short and to the point) means One. It’s the sound of the universe, the sound that was created before time and can still be heard today if you listen closely enough.** It unites us all and brings the realization that we have all come from the same place. We are all one.
We often chant Om at the end of classes as a reminder of that connection before we traverse out into the world that seems so disconnected and fragmented. Traditionally it is chanted 3 times. If you break down the sound of Om itself, it is made up of 3 distinctly different sounds that when unified will rhyme with the word “home”; A “aaah”, U “oooh”, M “mmm.” The trinity of the sound can be represented by a variety of things, but most often in yogic terms it is translated into the alignment of mind, body, & spirit. But, the chanting of Om is deeper than seeking the oneness within ourselves alone. It’s about connecting with the oneness in all of us, aligning in union with the universe. The trinity represents past, present and future combining all things in a world that is timeless. The waking, dreaming and dreamless states of consciousness are united. Om represents all of consciousness.
The vibration of Om is felt in the body and is very calming to the nervous system. This is true for those chanting as well as those listening. You may even remember the viral video earlier this year of Daniel Eisenman chanting “om” to his newborn with astounding results. This is something I’ve seen repeated in person during the close of our baby yoga classes. I even suggest to parents that it’s a wonderful parenting tool and mantra that can be very soothing for you and baby in times of stress.
The long, low soothing sound rolls off the tongue, starting at the back of the throat and moves forward ending with the tingle of the humming of the “mmm” sound on the lips. The Om is a culmination of all sound in one tone. After the sound comes the silence.
In fact, the silence was there before the sound, during and after. Silence is unchanging, even while sound changes tone or vibration. Silence is ever-present and unchanging. How many times do we crave for silence? For the sound, the clutter jingling in our heads, around our homes, and in our world to stop, when in fact the silence is already present. We just need to learn to tap into it, to understand the duplicity and paradox of the two existing together, as one. All is One. Om.
**Apparently, according to NASA, there is no sound in space. But through an experiment started in 2010 they took plasma wave data from the sun and translated it into sound. You can find more info at: https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/01nov_ismsounds and note that not all of the sounds in space sound like Om, but apparently some do: http://www.hoaxorfact.com/science/nasa-recorded-om-sound-from-sun-facts.html.
In 2007, when Holly became pregnant with her first child she began teaching prenatal yoga classes that impart not only the wisdom of poses for the childbearing year, but also knowledge of the spiritual and emotional process of becoming a parent. She continued to develop her support of mother, child & family connections through the opening of Om Baby Pregnancy & Parenting Center in 2008.