Back when I was working on becoming a kids yoga teacher I had the unique opportunity to sit in on classes at the Chopra center, as well as assistant teach and even substitute teach family yoga classes there. Each class has a particular flow to it, that had to include Chakra toning with the Bija Mantras. Bija means seed, and the purpose of each seed is to activate the chakra, or energy center, with sound, or, rather, a chant.
My teacher had a mnemonic to remember the names of the sounds, hence the title of this post. (Note: some practices will skip the Sham and just repeat Om twice). The sounds are:
Lam for the root chakra, to activate/draw attention to connection to earth, grounding energy, and the phrase "I am."
Vam for the sacral chakra (just below the belly button), to energize creativity, and the mantra "I feel."
Ram for the solar plexus, for personal fortitude and willpower, focus on "I do."
Yam for the heart, where both receives and gives emotion, with "I love."
Ham for the throat chakra, for find the words of truth for "I speak."
Sham for third eye chakra, the intuitive knowing, phrased as "I see."
Om for the seventh chakra at the crown of the head, the place where we are connected to the divine, for "I understand."
A practice that includes "oms" can be powerful because vocalization resonates in the body and has an effect on the nervous system, reverberates in the sinus cavities, and stimulates the brain. Music/sounds has deep connectivity with memory. The word/sound of om (actually pronounced AUM) utilizes all the vowel sounds and is said to create a unique focus for your conscious mind. [You can read more about OM here. https://www.yogajournal.com/philosophy/the-sound-of-om/].
On the simplest level, it can feel good simply to vocalize a simple chant during yoga with the entire class, or release any self consciousness and sink deep into a resonant open mouthed OM!
The Bija Mantras are a nice scale to utilize to energize the whole body, uttering each seed on a long outbreath, and focusing on the chakra to which it pertains. A five minutes practice, repeating the mantras while drawing attention to each energy center as you utter the syllable, picturing energy moving into the area of the body and creating warmth, healing, and vitality can be a very powerful medtiation.
It will be my practice this evening. I hope the title of this post can help you remember the sequence: Let Veda Rule Your Happy Shiny Om! Lam Vam Ram Yam Ham Sham Om!