While the holidays are supposed to bring peace, love and cheer, for some the holiday season is challenging, with overwhelming feelings of loss and loneliness amplified by the very same peace, love and cheer.
As a yoga teacher I wanted to share ways manage these feelings during this season and other time of stress, by practicing the ancient art of chanting and learning the meaning of “om”.
One of my first teachers training/retreat opened daily with three rounds of Om, at opening of every yoga practice and while it seemed innocent enough, it was at the time completely foreign to me. As students around me were chanting and “Om’ing,” I found myself smirking and rolling my eyes. I had never thought of myself as one of those “chanting people,” especially in a room full of people I didn’t know.
The third week of the teachers training, the teacher leading the retreat took notice of me deliberately not chanting. I found myself withdrawing and looking anywhere but up, in hopes that she wouldn’t comment on my non-participation. At the end of the days teachings/practice, the teacher came to me and said, “I noticed that you are not chanting. What does chanting Om mean to you?” I replied, “It seems a little too new-age guru for me, not really my style.” She listened and then asked me to sit and close my eyes. She then asked me if I had ever experienced a sense of loneliness? If I had ever felt unloved and disconnected? I had experienced some of this, of course. As I sat in silence, in a room where I heard no sound. As the time passed (it seemed like an hour), I began to experience a feeling of sadness. Had she left and deserted me?
After a time, the teachers voice gently said, “As you may be feeling sadness being alone, I want you to imagine the sound of another human voice. A soft hum of another person nearby.” With that I realized she was trying to help me understand; that the sound “Om” is a vibration coming from another person in the room and as we chant in unison, at that moment we are NOT alone. That very “Om” that I shied away from is joy and connection. One “Om,” is one sound and when we unite our voices together, it creates an extraordinary chanting, a oneness and in that moment, we never alone.
If the holidays are a taxing and you need a little rejuvenation… a little love… we invite you to join us for a yoga class. We look forward to seeing you and wish you love and peace this holiday season.
~Katia’ / Studio 7Yoga