When a teacher instructs everyone to close your eyes and open the class with a chant of Om, what do you do? Do you join in like a pro? Do you chant it loud and proud? Do you whisper it?
Here are 5 musical types of Oms you may (or may not) hear at the start of yoga class, one of which may ring true for you.
1. The Silent Om. You part your lips so it looks like you’re chanting Om, when in fact no sound actually comes out of your mouth. Maybe chanting Om just isn’t your thing. That’s okay. It’s totally optional.
2. The Crescendo Om. You start at a whisper level Om and gradually increase your volume to match the class. And what goes up must come down, so the crescendo tends to decrescendo as you run out of breath.
3. The Melodic Om. Like a slide whistle, you change your Om pitch to match the teacher’s. Sometimes, this sounds like a choir trying to “tune” their voice instruments, but eventually everyone seems to settle on a single “note”.
4. The Harmonic Om. This is much more common in a mixed class. Some baritone will fill the lower register of sound, creating a harmonic Om that everyone can feel happy about.
5. The Tone Deaf Om. Like the Harmonic Om, this is more common in a mixed class. And usually you can blame the horrific blending of sound on a guy who chants louder than the teacher and is terribly off-key. This then makes the rest of the class start changing their Om in a melodic way to find some harmony. It’s kind of a hot mess, and everyone rushes to finish the chant. The Tone Deaf Om culprit is unaware of the imbalance.