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The Power of "Om" in Children's Yoga

"Om is a sound you can make easily," I tell my Reception students, "but it holds all of the sounds in the universe: leaves falling, children playing, your dog whining and even sounds we can't hear - like the sun glowing, and starts shining. When we make this sound it helps us to connect to everything around us."

Yoga is about connection, and Yoga for Children is about connection too - to themselves, their classmates, the world around them.

When introducing children to Om, I use other sounds to start with. I ring my magic bowl (singing bowl) and ask them to listen with their whole bodies. What do they feel? Can they sense the vibrations, movement of the sound? I tell students we can make a similar sound with our voice, one that we can hear but also feel in our bodies.

What is OM?

"Om" is actually made up of four sounds A - U - M and then a silence after. These three sounds before the silence represent creation, preservation and destruction - encompassing all states of being. Paramhansa Yogananda explained that everything — all matter, all energy, all thoughts — exist in Aum.

Traditionally Aum is chanted before and after a yoga class and often three times, to remind us of our connection to each other, the earth and the ourselves.

How can children benefit?

When introducing children to yoga, I believe it is important to give them the full and far reaches of the practice. Yoga is a tradition that comes from India, 2000 years ago.

For us to respect that culture, we must not simply pick and choose parts that we like of a practice, but use and honour all of its beauty!

I love using Aum because...

  1. It gives a deeper connection to themselves through their voice

  2. Aum enriches children with Yoga's history and culture

  3. They can find a connect to others through shared sound

  4. The humming and vibration sounds help to calm them down

  5. It helps a letting go of self-confidence through sharing their voice

  6. For older children, chanting Aum in a long form is a great way to accentuate the exhale, reducing stress and anxiety

  7. When I use it, I am steeped in its meaning, confident of its benefit, and joyful in its delivery. “Om” rhymes with “home” and chanting this sacred sound to begin and end a yoga practice can help a child feel at home in his or her own body and in the world.

So, why don't you try a few Aums at home? Try holding hands with your child/ partner / yourself (in prayer hands). Aum three times and listen to the silence that follows. Notice what comes up!

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