CHATING is when 2 or more people create a simultaneous, universal sound with their voices. Chanting can be as easy as teachers guiding students to simultaneously say the sound OM, at the beginning, during or at the conclusion of yoga practice. Chanting is used in a wide variety of settings, from ritual to recreation: sporting events, warriors in battles, community sings, tribal ceremonies, religious rituals, protests, holiday traditions.
The saying of a synchronized sound creates ENTRAINMENT, which brings together the energy of all into the present moment. Entrainment is the process whereby two connected oscillating systems; having similar cycles/rhythms/patterns, fall into synchrony. A common example of entrainment is when two clocks are ticking in unison. It is thought that an exchange of energy between the two oscillating systems is responsible for the synchronization.
OM is an ancient, sacred sound. It is considered the origin of every other sound. It is a monosyllabic sound, which is present in every language. OM is believed to be the basic sound of the universe, and said to contain all other sounds. Yoga practitioners have recited OM over many centuries. It is thought to contain infinite power & wisdom, denoting existence, knowledge and bliss.
Although written in English as 2 letters, OM is really comprised of 3 different sounds – A, U, and M. Each individual sound, pronounced, “Ah”, “Oh”, and “Mmm” – are symbolically representative of something. Some say the 3 sounds stand for the mind, body and spirit; for physical meditation, mental meditation and spiritual meditation. Many feel that the 3 sounds represent the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states; while others say they stand for creation, preservation and destruction. Some feel the letters represent past, present and future, and still others feel the letters represent mother, father and the preceptor. Another interpretation is focusing outward, transition, inward.
Even the silence that surrounds the word OM has meaning. The quietness represents the perfect state of bliss, which happens when the individual self recognizes their identity with absolute consciousness.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras suggest repeating the sound OM constantly “with contemplation on its meaning and the feeling it evokes. By continuously repeating the word OM, one will remain steady, pure, and faithful, finding peace and freedom from fear”.