OM is one of the most basic sounds we can make. It's been described in Buddhist scriptures as the most powerful of all sounds. Cymatics, the study of how sound affects matter, uses sand, iron filings and even mercury to produce pictures of the human voice. Using cymatics, the chanting of "OM" produces interlayered concentric diamonds and triangles set within a perfect circle as pictured here:
OM is often used as a mantra during meditation to keep the monkey mind focused. It can also be used in toning.
What is toning?
It's the use of sound to allow the natural flow of energy in the body. This energy flow resolves tension, releases emotion and supports the body's natural healing process. Toning is easy, and it doesn't require any special equipment or singing ability.
How do you tone?
Find a quiet spot where you won't be disturbed.
Sit comfortably, with your spine straight and your diaphragm/abdomen unobstructed - no tight waistbands or belts. If you can't sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor, or on the front edge of a wooden chair, then stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
Inhale through your nose, release the breath through the mouth while making one long sustained sound "OOOOOOMMMMMMM".
Repeat this several times. Be sure your jaw is relaxed and your mouth is hanging open when you make the "OOOOO" part of the sound.
Play with it! Tone using different pitches, or while tapping your spoon against your coffee cup. Even more fun is to tone while playing a Tibetan singing bowl
or crystal bowl
While the bowls add another dimension to the sound, you don't need them. Your voice is all you really need to reap the benefits of toning. If you're up for something new and different, give it a try. Even just 5 minutes is long enough to feel the soothing effects.