If you're not used to belting out tunes, getting the sound "aum" out of your mouth can be intimidating and downright strange. I used to feel that way about it myself. I don't fancy myself a singer and I used to feel self-conscious about my ability to stay in tune for more than a few moments.
But much in the way I love a strong resonant bass and singing bowls, I loved the way those vibrations made me feel inside! So I took a step to join in by humming along in a group yoga class, assuredly soft enough that no one could hear me. I will admit it made me feel wonderful that I was being bathed in sound made lovingly by others, like a hundred monks were chanting for the benefit of me and all other beings. Like a thousand humming birds thrumming their wings in ecstasy that class was over and we could finally lay down in savasana. Bliss!
But I shortchanged myself by not letting it all go, caution to the wind, so to speak. Perhaps I took it all too seriously, and personally, that I couldn't sing in tune. The voices I heard nearby were spectacular and harmonious and thought I just couldn't measure up, so I silently took in those silky vibrations as a gift from those who felt they could. Over time, I learned many benefits of mantra and the sacred om sound which made me want to try to overcome my insecurity and finally remove my fear of embarrassing myself, in all ways. And along the way I learned some valuable things:
1. The throat chakra must be cleared to speak your truth. Creating a purposeful sound with intent and energy clears the path. I value communicating effectively, so I practiced making this sound in the privacy of my home when no one was around. I later broadened my range to include "I release you!" which I will write on in another blog.
2. I increased my range by doing three oms, each one in a different range. It didn't always sound pretty, but I did it confidently. Over time the sound improved, and so did my communication.
3. For the most part, my sinuses cleared up. The vibration of om and other mantra clears blockages in the head, throat, and and lungs.
4. Letting out an "om" on a long exhalation is good for stress reduction. Make your om loud or soft. Play with the volume control. Breathing slowly on an exhale reduces stress and clears your mind of useless things that you really don't have to be thinking about. Do 5 "oms" with an exhale twice as long as your inhale. After those 5 "oms," take 5 slow breaths with no sound and no thinking. You'll feel clearer and happier!
4. Overcoming fear is liberating! When you can overcome one insecurity, you have the power to do it again. Attachment comes in the form of insecurities and identity, so make it a point to let it go. Then let it go again. And again.
Although I do not have the most beautiful voice, I have a confident voice. Whenever I have a fear or insecurity of anything inside myself (including the sound I make when om-ing) that is a sure sign to me that I will have something valuable to learn from overcoming it and letting it go. This goes double for any body parts I have disliked or feared in my life. We've been given this Earth-suit for the duration of our breaths; we may as well embrace it with love!
If you need support speaking your truth, get in touch with me. I will support and empower you with the tools of yoga to be calm and self-assured with the words you speak for the greater good.
Kristen Fewel, Yoga Educator, Reiki Master
Full Circle Yoga & Healing Arts