Project Optimism: The Evolution of My Om

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I know I’ve written about yoga in my Project Optimism posts before, but I can’t help but do it again. Yoga IS my optimism. It sets me back on the right course when I’m out of control and keeps me heading forward. 

I started my practice nearly six years ago when I was pregnant with Brady. I did a few DVDs at home that my friend lent to me and then I signed up for a prenatal class at my gym. There were four women in the class in varying states of pregnancy and the little, blonde, fit woman who was our instructor. She introduced herself and gave her background in yoga and then asked us to find a comfortable seat. She then had us take a deep breath in and as we breathed out she made this sound, “OOOooooooooommmmmmmmm.” 

At the beginning of each class she asked us to chant om along with her and I think that by the end of the 8 weeks I may have squeaked out an embarrassed whisper. After Brady was born, I went back to yoga, but I hadn’t found my om yet. I did, however, go to classes where most of the students chanted along with the instructor and began to feel the sound in myself.

Once I had Brady comfortable in the gym’s babysitting room and could spend a little time, I began regularly attending a yoga class. The instructor was a man with a deep, reverberating voice. His om was contagious and the whole class couldn’t help but join in, even me. I learned to love the way that a roomful of voices comes together to form one perfect sound, becoming one instrument. This instructor also ended each class with “shanti, shanti, shanti.” This is one I’m particularly fond of. Who doesn’t like to leave with peace?

Over the years I’ve been to classes with chanting and classes without. I’ve even been to classes with a harmonium, which is certainly something to experience. I’m not entirely over the initial reaction to laugh yet, but I’m getting there. I’ve recently been to a few classes with call and response chants. The me of six years ago would have been squirming and looking for the exit. The me of today joins in and feels the power. It’s as if the energy behind the voices in the room come together for one purpose. 

This chant has been in two of my recent classes. While it’s amazing to hear it in sanskrit, the translation is beautiful as well. 

Prayer for Enlightenment

OM 

ASATOMA SADGAMAYA

TAMASOMA JYOTHIRGAMAYA

MRITHYORMA AMRUTANGAMAYA

OM SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI

Lead us from darkness to light
From ignorance to truth
And from death to eternity
Let peace prevail everywhere

If I’ve come this far in the last six years, maybe someday I’ll be chanting along with my harmonium in an ashram. You never know…

 

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You should join in on the happiness. Here’s how:

  1. Write about something that makes you feel optimistic. Whatever it is, write from your heart.
  2. Post on MONDAYS. Include “Project Optimism” in your title.
  3. Grab a badge by going to your dashboard and clicking the “IMAGE” widget. Adjust pic size 200h x 200w. The image URL: (http://mommiesarejustbiglittlegirls.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/project-optimism.jpg)
  4. Link over here and invite friends to join in.
  5. Encourage the person who linked up before you. Kindness is contagious!
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