Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

Welcome all to the blog of Rishikesh Yog Dham. Today we will discuss Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting. In the vast expanse of yogic practices, there lies a simple yet profound technique known as Udgeeth Pranayama, often coupled with the resonant sounds of OM chanting. This ancient practice is not just a mere exercise but a gateway to tranquility, a method to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit.

The Essence of Udgeeth Pranayama

Udgeeth Pranayama, also referred to as the “chanting breath,” is a segment of the Pranayama series of breathing exercises in yoga. The term ‘Udgeeth’ is derived from Sanskrit where ‘Ud’ means ‘upward’ and ‘Geeth’ means ‘song or chant’. It involves a deep and rhythmic inhalation followed by a prolonged exhalation, during which the sacred syllable ‘OM’ is chanted.

The Practice

To perform Udgeeth Pranayama, one must sit in a comfortable position, preferably Padmasana (Lotus Pose) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose). The spine should be erect, and the eyes gently closed to turn the attention inward. As you inhale deeply through the nostrils, fill the lungs with air, and as you exhale, chant the sound ‘OM’ in a slow, steady, and prolonged manner. The ‘O’ part of the chant should be shorter, with the ‘M’ sound extending as long as possible.

The Benefits

The benefits of Udgeeth Pranayama are manifold. It is known to:

  • Induce a state of deep relaxation and meditation.
  • Improve concentration and mental clarity.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • Enhance the quality of sleep.
  • Regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Strengthen the vocal cords and improve speech quality.

The Power of OM Chanting

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting
Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

OM chanting is an integral part of Udgeeth Pranayama. OM, considered the primal sound of the universe, encapsulates all sounds and vibrations. It symbolizes the essence of ultimate reality, consciousness, or Atman (soul).

The Vibrations

When chanted correctly, the vibrations of OM resonate throughout the body, starting from the abdomen, moving through the spinal cord, and reaching the brain. This vibration activates the body’s energy centers or chakras, promoting a flow of positive energy.

The Science

Recent scientific studies have shown that OM chanting can have a therapeutic effect on the mind and body. It has been associated with:

  • Reduction in stress hormones.
  • Lowering of the heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Stimulation of the vagus nerve, which plays a role in the body’s relaxation response.
  • Enhanced cognitive functions and emotional regulation.

Variations of OM chanting

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting
Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

OM chanting can be practiced in various forms, each offering a unique experience. Here are some variations:

  1. Silent or Mental Chanting: This involves silently repeating the sound “OM” in your mind, focusing on the vibration of the sound.
  2. Audible Chanting: Chanting “OM” out loud, either alone or in a group, which can help in feeling the vibration more intensely.
  3. Chanting with Music: Some practitioners find it helpful to chant “OM” along with music, such as devotional songs or instrumental pieces.
  4. Pranav Japa: This is the chanting of OM as a form of meditation, focusing on the spiritual significance of the sound as it relates to yogic philosophy.
  5. Chakra-focused Chanting: Each chakra has a seed sound or bija mantra associated with it, and “OM” is often used as the universal sound to activate and balance all the chakras.

Additionally, OM chanting can be integrated into various yoga sequences to enhance the practice, align movement with breath, and deepen mindfulness. It’s also worth noting that similar sounds to OM are found in other traditions, such as “Amen” in Christianity and “Amin” in Islam, which carry a comparable spiritual significance.

Significance of chanting OM three times

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting
Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

Chanting “OM” three times has a deep spiritual and philosophical significance in various traditions. It is believed to represent a sacred invocation for universal peace, and the repetition is said to enhance the power of the mantra. The number three is significant in many cultures and religions, often symbolizing harmony, wisdom, and understanding.

In the context of Hinduism, chanting “OM” three times is thought to address and pacify the three types of afflictions or sufferings known as ‘Tapas’—Adhidaivika (originating from natural forces or divine causes), Adhibhautika (caused by other living beings or environmental factors), and Adhyatmika (internal suffering due to one’s own physical and mental state). By repeating “Shanti” (peace) three times after “OM,” practitioners seek peace from these three kinds of disturbances, aiming for a state of inner tranquility and spiritual contentment.

Additionally, the repetition is also seen as a way to affirm a statement or intention, making it more powerful and likely to manifest. In yogic philosophy, it’s said that “that which is said thrice comes true”. Therefore, chanting “OM” three times is a way to reinforce the desire for peace and harmony within oneself and in the world.

Integrating Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting into Daily Life

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting
Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

Incorporating Udgeeth Pranayama and OM chanting into your daily routine can be a transformative experience. It is best practiced early in the morning or during the evening when the environment is calm.

A Daily Ritual

Begin with five minutes of practice, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the technique. It can serve as an excellent precursor to meditation or as a standalone practice to start or end your day on a peaceful note.

Community and Collective Chanting

Participating in group sessions of OM chanting can amplify the benefits, creating a sense of unity and collective consciousness. Many find these sessions to be powerful experiences, often leading to a profound sense of connection and peace.

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting
Udgeeth Pranayama and OM Chanting

Conclusion

Udgeeth Pranayama and OM chanting are not just exercises for the body but nourishment for the soul. They are tools for us to connect with the deeper aspects of our existence and the universe at large. As we chant, we align ourselves with the rhythm of creation, finding our place in the cosmic orchestra.

In the silence that follows the chant, we often discover the true essence of being – a moment of pure existence, free from the chatter of the mind. It is here, in this space of stillness, that we find the serenity we seek.

FAQs About Udgeeth Pranayama

1. Can anyone practice Udgeeth Pranayama? 

Yes, it’s suitable for all levels and can be a simple yet powerful addition to a daily meditation or yoga practice. However, it’s important to practice with proper technique and precautions.

2. What is the significance of the sound ‘OM’ in Udgeeth Pranayama? 

‘OM’ is considered a primal sound that resonates with the vibrations of the universe. It comprises three syllables – ‘A’, ‘U’, and ‘M’, which represent various states of consciousness and is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and body.

3. Can Udgeeth Pranayama improve sleep? 

Yes, practicing Udgeeth Pranayama can enhance the quality of sleep, help cure insomnia, and prevent bad dreams by inducing a state of relaxation.

4. Does Udgeeth Pranayama have any physical health benefits? 

Regular practice is known to aid in digestion, reduce the effects of aging, and improve respiratory functions. It may also help in releasing negative emotions and reducing stress.

5. How long should I practice Udgeeth Pranayama? 

Beginners can start with a few minutes and gradually increase the duration. The practice can last from 2 to 10 minutes, once or twice a day, depending on individual comfort and time availability.

6. Is there a best time to practice Udgeeth Pranayama? 

While it can be practiced at any time, early morning or during sunset are considered ideal times for pranayama as they coincide with natural transitions in the day, which may enhance the meditative and calming effects.