Yoga Journal co-founder Rama Jyoti Vernon demonstrates a proper Om, syllable by syllable—a-ā-u-ū-m-(ng)-(silence).
Her tutorial is simple enough: To sound the first two syllables, open the mouth wide as if you want to take in the fullness of the universe. Pursing lips together helps stretch out the next two syllables. “It’s like both sides of the brain come together to form an arrow that is sent out with sharp focus,” she says. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof your mouth to sound the last two syllables, m and ng, which symbolize the close of the creation cycle. Let the silence drape over you before inhaling again.