The meaning of ‘Udgeeth’ is sound of music. Udgeeth Pranayama is called so because of the involvement of recitation of ‘OM’ in a particular way while exhaling of the air. Therefore, this is also called the OM pranayama. This breathing exercise is essentially meant to bring peace to mind and to get rid of undue stress. This is believed to be good for mental health, and, in turn, also promotes physical health.
Practising Udgeeth pranayama does not have any side-effects that can cause harm to us. Ancient saints are said to have practiced this for many hours at a stretch. Even children can practice this breathing exercise for healthy body and mind.
Steps to Practice OM Chanting Breathing Exercise
There are two different ways in which this pranayama is practiced.
It shall be remembered that though it is called ‘OM’ in popular parlance, it is actually made of three alphabets joined together- A, U and M. The difference lies in the way word OM or AUM is recited and the duration of the recitation. Let us practice it step by step…
1/6. Sit in a comfortable position with spine straight. You can sit cross legged in Padmasana or Sukhasana. Else, you can even sit on chair with spine straight and feet resting on floor.
2/6. Draw attention inward to focus on breath. Keep the distractions away.
3/6. Inhale slowly and deeply from both nostrils, without exerting any stress on facial or nasal muscles. Once lungs are filled with the air, move on to the next step of exhalation.
4/6. The exhalation is to be done by opening the teeth and the lips just a little with the recitation of OM or AUM. Now, here the variations in practice could be following…You can recite the word OM with ratio of time devoted to recitation of O and M being 4:1, or at least 2:1. So, O is to be recited for longer duration than M. And, just as you move on to recitation of ‘M’ close the lips and let there be reverberations of sound within you.
(a) The second variation is to recite AUM, in three components, beginning with A, followed by U and M. The ratio of time duration of their recitation shall be 1:2:4. So, this is just the reverse of the previously discussed variation.
(b) Consequently, the word A is recited for the shortest duration of time, U for twice longer duration and the M for twice the duration of U even. Again, while beginning to recite the ‘M’ part, the lips have to be closed the sound be allowed to resonate inside the body.
5/6. Feel the resonance of the sound waves within our body, particularly the mind reverberating due to these waves. Wear on the smile on face as you experience this.
6/6. Repeat this cycle of inhalation and recitation while exhalation. You can use either of the variations discussed above.
Time Duration of Practice
Generally, there shall be a repetition of the breathing cycle for at least 11 times. This is even good if extended to more cycles. So, the length of time will depend on the time taken to complete each cycle and it varies from person to person.
Udgeeth pranayama is best done in morning and in an empty stomach condition. You can also practice it after a gap of about 3 to 4 hours from the meals.
Benefits of Udgeetha Pranayama
Some of the advantages of the Udgeetha pranayama for body and mind, when practiced regularly, are…
1/5. Mental Health- one of the greatest benefits of this exercise is to attain and enhance the mental health of person. The reverberations of sound is a way of massaging the brain which helps in improving its health. This is beneficial for nervous system functioning.
2/5. Helps in insomnia- People who are not able to sleep in night or have sleeping disorder can cure the ailment by regular practice of this breathing exercise as it brings peace to mind.
3/5. Relieves stress, anxiety and depression-Due to the stimulation of parasympathetic nervous system, the mind is relaxed and relieved of stress and anxiety.
4/5. Regulates high blood pressure to achieve normalcy- The hypertensive people are benefited this pranayama as the heart rate slows down due to enhanced relaxation which reduces the blood pressure.
5/5. Good for spiritual growth- AUM is said to be the sound of the universe. In ancient scriptures of Hindus, the chanting of AUM is considered to be divine as this practice is expected to amalgamate our existence with rest of the universe, of which we are a part. Therefore, this is good for spiritual growth of the person.
Precautions and Contraindications
Certain precautions need to be taken before and during this breathing exercise.
1/3. Due to reverberations produced, some people might find this a little discomforting. It is suggested that such people shall practice this under guidance of expert and shall proceed slowly.
2/3. Both inhalation and exhalation shall be long.
3/3. For best results, it shall be practiced empty stomach.