Yogi’s believe the body has a limited number of breaths.
Therefore, slower breathing = longer life
Life starts with breath, and ends when breath ends.
In between we breath, non-stop, in and out.
Better breathing = better life
“Omkar” – What is it?
Omkar is the saying, or singing, of the sound ‘om’ (pronounced “aum”). Om is a simple sound that creates vibration, teaches slow & deep breathing, and calms the mind.
Say or sing “ar” as in the start of “argh” for 2 seconds, then blend this into the sound of “u” like the end of “you” for 3 seconds, and end by blending into the sound “m” for 5 seconds. Note that 2 + 3 + 5 = 10 seconds of course.
Try to create and feel the “a” starting in the abdomen, the “u” in the chest and the “m” in the mouth and lips. Your mouth will start open like a circle for “a”, half close to an oval for “u” and close fully to make the “m” which hums away as a mmmmmmmm.
As you repeat over and over you may find it entrancing
A…A…U…U…U…M…M…M…M…M… .. . .
To ensure comfort and ease of breathing (and therefore clarity of saying or singing om), sit upright so that your abdomen and lungs can freely expand and contract. Slouching restricts the lungs.
When you do it, you learn that you need a deep inhale and a slow exhale (which is good breathing technique). Instead of a normal 12-15 (shallow) breaths a minute you reduce to about 4 deep breaths each of 15 seconds (10 seconds exhale, 5 seconds inhale). This creates oxygen richer blood for the body …and brain.
After you say or sing om, it becomes a memory too – a calm sound in the silence of your mind.
When you say om it is also a feeling, a vibration.
Thus, omkar is heard, felt, imagined, and remembered. It is simple but requires full concentration, it is:
- breath control, and
all in one. The vibrations are even said to activate the organs and glands of the body.
Omkar is a fantastic relaxation and connection with the unborn child in pregnant women.
- With a partner or in two groups, say or sing om in turn with a slight overlap. As your partner or the other group begin to finish “m” start to say/sing “om”. As you breath in, the other says/sings, as you say/sing om the other inhales ready again. The room is filled with the constant sound of om. Alternate from one to the other for 12+ repetitions of the word “om” – long enough to form a strong memory. Then, as the last “om” is pronounced, listen to the memory for as long as you can still hear it in your mind until the clutter of your thoughts overrides the memory. As you do this over weeks and months, note if the length of time of the memory changes over time.
- Truly listen to each and every syllable of the sounds.
- Tune into the other group’s harmonics and try to match their closing with your starting.
- If you listen carefully, you will see that not only does the exhale clearly obviously have a sound (om), but also there is a sound to your inhale. What is that word?
- Perform om for as long as is comfortable (10 minutes, longer?). You may find you enter an effortless trance like cycle of inhaling, saying/singing om. It has a wonderful connected feeling of clarity, grounding, even euphoria. [The time of this feeling is also a great time to make positive affirmations for yourself! – for example “I will be brave”, “I will love freely”, “I will be good to myself and the world around me”, “I am truly wonderful”]
Om is said to be the sound of the whole universe – the noise the universe makes if you could hear it in outer space. Who knows?
Om is also a symbol, above, which can be studied by eye.
Facts about our world
Perhaps the following are food for thought while you practise omkar.
- As late as 1820, the universe was thought to be 6,000 years old. It is now thought to be nearly 14 billion (14,000,000,000) years old.
- The oldest dinosaurs were on earth 230 million (230,000,000) years ago.
- The universe is getting bigger and bigger, faster and faster
- There are an estimated 50 thousand million galaxies in the universe, with the typical galaxy containing 50 thousand million to 100 thousand million stars. It is estimated that there are 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in total in the universe.
- Most of the elements found in the human body originated in stars; we are literally made of stardust.
- If the universe were the scale of a building 20 miles long, wide, and high then the physical matter that it contains would be the size of 1 grain of sand. So much space. How big would we be on such a scale?
Read this article again now and you may realise some extra points you missed the first time.
Written by John Dickerson, United Kingdom & Malaysia.