People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons because it is a practice that covers the whole self: spiritual, physical and mental. One thing that often makes people nervous about yoga though is whole ‘Om’ thing. (Properly it is ‘AUM’ but more of that later).
Most people are looking to focus on their physical (especially muscular and joint) wellness when they think of yoga-based practices and quite frankly the sight of people sitting around cross-legged looking ecstatic and making silly noises is a bit off-the-scale hippy for them.
Original Surf’s resident yoga intsructor, Louise, explains a little more about this intriguing aspect of the practice:
“Yes! It’s true, a lot of people are a bit intimidated by the ‘omming’ side of yoga, but I have never failed to convert anyone to the power of chanting this sound. And, even though I still get shy doing it, if I see it through it is without a doubt the most refreshing and satisfying thing I can do each day.”
So what exactly is going on here?
“Firstly, there’s the very act of making noise. Using your lungs in a deliberate way to move air up and past specific parts of your body to create a controlled sound is really nice to do and helps with your breathing in general. And let’s face it breathing *is* life, so if you get that right you are heading for a good day.
“Next there is the ‘location’ of the sound. Yes, I said location. To make the noise properly you need to make the sound in three different parts of the body:
– ‘Ahhhh’ comes from around your belly/lower lungs. Breathe in deep and then just leave you mouth and throat open while you let the air sound out from the bottom of your lungs. Like a roar. AAAAAAHHHHHhhhhhhh. Delicious. This is the first kind of noise an organism can make if it has lungs and a mouth. It’s pretty primal and satisfying to do. Carry on until you run out of breath.
– ‘Ooooooo’ gets made by moving the noise making area (i.e. ‘pushing the air out from’) higher up, at the top of the lungs and the throat. The mouth closes a bit into an ‘o’ shape. You need some sort of sophisticated vocal chords and lip control to make this noise. Dogs can’t do it, chimps can. We’re progressing here to a bigger brained activity. A ‘higher state of consciousness’ if you will . Take another breath and ‘ooooo’ until it’s all gone.
– ‘Hmmmmmmm’ is a hum. To hum you need fine motor skills in your lip region and to do that you need intention. Humming doesn’t happen by accident, you need a human-like brain that can instruct the body to behave in complex ways just because you quite fancy making that noise. The sound (vibration) comes from up in the nasal passages as the air passes. This makes us ‘feel’ it inside our heads, near out brains. It’s like massaging your head on the inside. On your next breath try a hum. Let the note move around if it wants and feel it buzzing inside until you run out of air.
Next, put all the three sounds together in a single exhalation, with a nice transition between them, and you get the ‘cosmic sound’ AUM (aaah-ooouu-hmmm). It’s pretty special in the Vedic yoga tradition and, if you like that stuff, then read more online. There is loads of information. Some pretty magical things happen when you get big groups of people making the noise all together repeatedly. If you want to stick to the mechanics, then the vibrations you are making are wave forms and modern science is beginning to understand more about how all matter ‘vibrates’ so it’s not a spooky as it sounds at first.
Or, you know, in the true spirit of yoga, just drop your inhibitions and give it a go. Just like singing or shouting at the top of your lungs, making a loud noise is really enjoyable and a great way to open up your whole body to the day ahead and clear the mind of the thoughts that whirr away inside us causing stress.”
So, there you have it. A chant a day keeps the psychotherapist away. Oh, and may just connect you to the oneness of the universe
Come join us …
Our Surf and Yoga Package includes:
- Lodging at our surf camp (prices are per person and assume shared accommodation. A single supplement is available.)
- Breakfast at the camp & a packed lunch for the beach each day
- 6 Moroccan dinners at the camp
- One planned evening outside the camp (dinner at guests’ expense)
- 6 x 1 hour yoga sessions (1 x session per day/a second yoga session is available at an additional cost)
- Yoga mats
- Group surf lessons for at least 4 hours a day with qualified surf instructors
- Surf equipment (surf board & wetsuit)
- Daily transportation between the camp and surf spots
- Transfers to and from Agadir area for arrival & departure (pick-up and drop-off at the airport or bus station) when you book a 7 night package