One Powerful Word To Reduce Your Stress
Philosophers, sages, teachers and critics have debated over translation, interpretation, and nearly every aspect of yogic philosophy.
And while it can be argued that in today’s modern American society, “yoga” and particularly the postures (asana) taught across studios and workshops bare little resemblance to the great teachings of days gone by, the one thing that still unites all communities is the universal sound of Aum, or more commonly, “OM”.
Frequently chanted at the beginning or end of a yoga asana practice, OM is considered to be the original sound of the universe, the uniting force of all things, and the sound of the universe vibrating in perfect resonance, so there is no space between the self and the divine.
The late teacher and author Mr BKS Iyengar, in his book, “Light on Yoga”, considers Aum “[in Sanskrit] to mean all, and conveys concepts of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.”
Chanting OM is said to stimulate and help de-calcify the pineal gland – a pea-sized gland located in the vertebrate brain near the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, that produces melatonin. This gland is considered our “seed of intuition” which becomes calcified by stress, diet, and our environment.
This simple chant is also proven to reduce stress, improve concentration and increase a sense of wellbeing. Furthermore it is a manner of uniting breath with movement, so helps connect the body and mind.
Depending on what you follow, it either comprises three or four parts, but the outcome is the same:
A “Ah” is created in the back of the throat and is the shortest part
U “Uh” is sound that resonates in the upper palate of the mouth
M “Mmm” is humming sound created with lips closed and the longest part
<silence> Is the final and unspoken part.
For beginners, you don’t need to sit on a mountain, get on a yoga mat or don fancy pants. Simply sit down, close your eyes, and create a relaxing scene in your mind. This can be your favorite beach at sunset, a forest, or a loved one who brings you peace.
Next, take a full breath, and as you begin to exhale, say the word really s-l-o-w-l-y, and intentionally, extending the pronunciation until you hit the end of your exhale.
Then simply inhale and start again. And repeat with intention until you fall into a rhythm.
If you are not comfortable with the sound of your own voice, put on noise cancelling headphones. The greater the intention and focus on the chant, the greater the vibration in your body, and connectedness of your body to breath.
If you’re interested in a summary of the science and benefits behind chanting this sacred sound, check out Wholesome Ayurveda for their perspective on this rich topic.
The transformative power of this simple mantra cannot be understated. It is the root and core of all creation, and with intention and practice, you will soon be OM’ing in the car, when preparing for a blind tasting, picking up the kids from school, or anywhere you need an instant stress relief.
Give it a shot and let us know how you go, and when we connect in person, we would love to practice together.
Meet The Tribe:
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Chief Everything Officer at “Giuseppe LoCascio “Selezioni Varietali"
Years In Industry:
21 years, including 15 at my family’s fine wine importer and distributor company, The Winebow Group.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
Being consistent with my wellness routines. I run my own business and I travel often and extensively. Sometimes it’s not possible to build a workout session, or even a quick run, into my schedule. Furthermore, like everyone else in the wine business, it’s difficult to always eat healthy and to avoid drinking, especially if you’re traveling to Italy often! On top of that, since I work with Italian wineries, the time zone difference sometimes makes it difficult to stick to my health plan.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
My mother is a Dietitian, so I grew up learning how to eat well and healthy (even in Italy!).
She taught me how to maintain a balanced diet and showed me that our body needs variety and movement to remain in good shape. She also taught me that our body needs healthy nourishment as much as adequate gratification, and that it doesn’t respond well to too many sacrifices. So I guess it all boils down to maintaining an overall balance: understanding when to say “no” but also when to reward yourself with a treat. I try to exercise routinely, and that is very important for me to let off stress and feel more energized.
I also practice meditation 3 times or more a week. I consider it a “samurai” practice: it allows me to be present and grounded, and to have better self control, and that in general I think is of great support to have productive business meetings and sound decision making.
What We’re Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
“Steve Jobs is one of the two or three greatest icons of high tech, rivaled only by Bill Gates and perhaps Mark Zuckerberg. He's mostly known for his legendary ability to create innovative, groundbreaking products.”
“When Leslie Nguyen was a bartender in her early 20s, her employers would encourage her to drink with customers. The more the barkeep imbibed, the loftier the tab at the end of the night.”
Let's Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the new Let's Meet Up! page.
· Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, May 31 to June 3 (Cathy)
· Aspen Food & Wine, June 15 to June 17 (Rebecca) - We are planning a Sunday morning meditation and yoga so please email Rebecca if want to join.
· Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines, in Champagne, France, July 5 to 7 (Cathy)
· Wines of Australia event in Lake Tahoe, July 22 to 26 (Cathy)