Take a deep breath.
Did you breathe in or did you breathe out? If you emptied your lungs first, consider yourself a rare bird.
Western culture's most significant recent contact with yoga, meditation and the like happened in the '60s with the Beatles' studies with The Maharishi and others.
If one word typified this cultural contact, it would be OM. While om is the translation of choice in the West, the spelling aum is generally recognized as interchangeable.
While most of us would be hesitant to site Wikipedia as a source, it does represent some consensus albeit, perhaps, tainted by effort. I agree with the following [anyway] :
"Om is pronounced as a long or over-long nasalized close-mid back rounded vowel."
I say this regarding the critical difference between om and aum :
Aum is intoned as a self-regulating, diaphragmized, vowel-other. Au- is an open vowel sound that we use to completely empty our lungs of air, and -m (the other) is the sound of the biggest intake of blood-fuelling oxygen that you've ever inhaled.
In your life.
I'll explain shortly how au-m works in meditation (and, indeed, in any situation, anytime or anywhere).
In meditation in particular, in addition to generating the maximum possible level of blood oxygen, au-m works as a template for exhaling and inhaling.
With very, very little practice, The Template will dissolve in The Process.
You won't be there and neither will that old bug bear, The Mind. That's a phenomenon that everyone should experience.
Au-m meditation is not hyperventilation, it's the best way for humans to oxygenate.
We will begin with a 15 minute meditation. You will completely understand what you are aiming for after your initial session. You will immediately, to a degree determined by your ability to follow the template, feel refreshed.
By your third (or second) session you will be able to "lose" your mind in meditation, and the blood oxygen boost will mean that your 15 minute meditation will have the restorative effect of 3 hours sleep.
[You'll be poised and ready for 30 minutes and beyond.]
A short precautionary note before we begin. If you are working with cardio-pulmonary issues, suspected or verified, do not attempt this meditation practice.
This practice is the best way to oxygenate and as such, is of tremendous value to anyone with these issues, but the method needs adjustment. Contact me and I'll explain the differences.
Okay. There are Three Steps to a lifetime of oxygen-rich meditation (not contemplation or suggestion, and certainly not hyperventilation).
Read all three steps before you begin.
Follow my simple instructions to the letter.
The breathing in all three steps is done through the nose, with the mouth closed.
After this initial session, discard [forever] Steps One and Two.
Wear loose-fitting clothes. If you either cannot sit in full lotus or half lotus, or you don't know what "lotus" is - sit on the floor with your legs crossed and your back against a wall, with your forearms resting on the top of your thighs with one hand, palm up, resting atop the other.
Sit tall and straight.
Set an alarm for 2 minutes. Close your eyes.
See, in your mind, in living color, your lung sacs.
Then, absolutely as slowly and evenly as possible and using just the muscles around your ribcage, empty your lungs of air from the bottom up while imagining what this would look like.
When they are empty you will have to inhale. Let it happen naturally. Do not try to control or restrict your inhalation but JUST BEFORE your lungs are full, start exhaling again.
This is very important, as is not trying to control or restrict the inhalation.
Set an alarm for 3 minutes. Close your eyes.
Imagine your lung sacs are full of dark purple light.
As slowly as possible, from the very bottom up, expel the purple light.
In addition to being aware of emptying your lungs from the very bottom up, this time also use your solar plexus to slowly and evenly breathe purple light out into the world. Slowly, evenly, steadily, gently exhaling.
Again, when you (finally) are forced to inhale, stop just short of full and slowly start exhaling again, using the very bottom of your lungs in conjunction with your solar plexus.
Do not try to control or restrict the inhalation.
Set an alarm for 15 minutes.
Sit up straight and close your eyes.
Using just your solar plexus, slowly, gently and evenly exhale.
If you're not especially fit, use the muscles just above your solar plexus as well, but be sure that everything begins in with your solar plexus.
If you are using your solar plexus as the [gentle] driving force, the sound this makes as air passes your vocal chords is au...
To understand this rather critical element before you begin, try the same exhalation process with the "sounds" of om and aw.
Om resonates, as proposed above, in the nasal-head area. Aw does, to an extent, engage the solar plexus, but it is less subtle than au and uses the middle to lower ribcage area to a degree that rushes, somewhat, the exhalation.
Center au in your solar plexus. The sound should emanate from there and resonate as it passes your vocal chords.
Be gentle. Love the au.
Hear it as long as possible. You'll be able to slow your heart rate and breaths per minute to a ridiculously low level.
When your lungs are empty, the inhalation will happen in and of itself. The sound you hear will be -mmmmmmm...
It will be fairly tremendous.
JUST before your lungs are full, start the au process again.
Always start and anchor au in your solar plexus/diaphagm.
Hear au- as it happens naturally in your throat.
"Say" au in your mind.
The secret to this practice is hearing/making the au sound for as long as you can on each exhalation.
When your mind wanders, bring it back to au and the template.
A good au makes for waves of -mmmmm.
You never really think of -m, it's just what happens after au. Well, you do think of -m if your mind wanders as you inhale.
Be sure that JUST before the -m fills your lungs completely - you stop inhaling and resume au.
Up to that point do not try to control your inhalations.
At some point in your second or third session, the
au-m template will, of its own accord, disappear.
Your mind will be completely silent. The first time it happens your mind will, in amazement, reboot itself; but you'll soon be able to complete an entire session uninterrupted by your mind.
That's it. Simple.
The best way for humans to oxygenate and a [disappearing] template/MANTRA for the process.
[Please share your experiences with au-m with me through the comments function.]
[I'd LOVE to get my first follower on this blog.]