I went to a social gathering recently of the non yogi type with my Om necklace and I had quite a few people asking me “Are you 30 years old because your necklace says 3 – 0.”
“Thank you for asking. I am not 30 years old. I bought this necklace from my recent trip to Bali in early March of this year and it is a sign of Om, the Universal sound,” as I said and smiled warmly.
Then one of the girls said, ”Om, That’s interesting. No pun intended…”
I laughed and we went on talking about life in general, and living life.
After that night, I went home and reflected my journey thus far with “Om.” My thoughts brought me back three years ago when I was going through my 200 hours of yoga teacher training and why “Om” and chanting became an intricate part of my yoga practice.
One of our mentors, who falls under the Iyengar lineage, had us not only chant “Om” but also chant a gazillion invocations and another gazillion Patanjali sutras for twenty minutes before we start our physical asana practice. In the beginning, I dreaded these chants and sometimes I even felt restless as we went through the songs.
“What’s the point of chanting?” as I asked my friend who had previously attended the yoga teacher training.
She said, “For what it’s worth, just explore the sounds and vibrations in your body when you chant.”
For the first month of chanting, I thought it was useless and that we should just skip all of the “Num, num, yum, yum” sounding vowels as none of it made sense to me. I even tried to avoid my mentor’s classes because I just did not like chanting.
For me, chanting Sanskirt was not only hard to enunciate, but I couldn’t understand any of the meanings behind what I was chanting for. There is translation right below each chant, but I was also too lazy to look into the meaning so I never really took the time to understand what I was chanting to.
Worst part was that our mentor highly suggested us chanting as a part of our finals before graduating as a yoga teacher.
“Oh did I dread chanting…” I thought to myself. I kicked and fought chanting, in silence, the whole way through my yoga teacher training.
Something happened during the third month of the teachers training. When we finish chanting The Invocation to Patanjali with “Hari Om – my salutations to Thee,” my mind felt at ease. I felt like a sense of relief, a soothing energy that flowed from the top of my head, down my heart, and permeated to my entire body.
I felt whole and centered – one heart, one soul, one mind, one body, and all together as one. There was nothing to be attached to. The list of what I wanted – new car, new gadgets, new clothes, more money, etc, all went out of the window. I felt lighter, less stressed, blissful, content, and happy just where I am. I don’t need to keep up with “The Jones” and I didn’t need to have million dollars to be happy. I was no longer suffering from perpetual wants and needs of material things.
Instead, I am thankful for what I have in life. My family is in good health. I am in good health. I also have some amazing friends, teachers, and many more amazing people who I will meet along the way.
Was there something in your life that you did not enjoy doing in the beginning but somehow you stuck with it, and now it is a part of your life? I love to hear from you about your story as well.
“Hari Om. Nameste” – my salutation to Thee. I see the divine in you, and you see the divine in me.
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