In the Hindu tradition, the sound of om is said to contain the entire universe. It is the first sound from the beginning of time, and it also encompasses the present and the future. As such, its importance and power are difficult to overstate.
It is also a seed syllable, used as a building block for other mantras. In the chakra system, it is connected to ajna chakra, the third eye, which represents intuition and self-knowledge.
Om in Yoga
In a yoga setting, the chanting of om at the beginning of class ushers practitioners into the time and space that is about to be spent on the mat or in meditation. Likewise, an om at the end of class signifies that your physical practice has ended and it is time to reenter society.
Chanting with a group of people also serves to unify the group and create a sense of community. As you feel the vibration of the chant and lose the sound of your own voice among those of your classmates, it’s possible to feel at one with other people and even with the universe.