Carol O’Sullivan (left), an adjunct assistant professor at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and La Roche College, loves to practice yoga. She proposed the idea for an Om ringtone to the project saying, “I like the way it sounds and feels. It has this medicinal effect–the Om sound vibrates in your head and makes you feel good.”
O’Sullivan began taking yoga classes at Pittsburgh’s Himalayan Institute in 2000. Early one Saturday morning I met her (and her daughters) near the center to record the tone. O’Sullivan asked the director of the institute, Kate Kill, to help pull a group of yoga students together to participate. Kill also agreed to lead the group in the tone.
It’s said (in Wikipedia) that the Aum/Om syllable consists “of three phonemes, a, u and m, variously symbolizing the Three Vedas …or the three stages of life ( birth, life and death ).” So it was quite perfect that the people who showed up to make the tone were of different genders and ages and that there were also two pregnant women in attendance. In this lovely tone, you’ll hear Kate Kill leading a range of voices singing “Om.” If you listen carefully, you’ll also hear the sound of breathing and the earnest and spontaneous Om of a child who wholeheartedly participated in the recording process. Here’s Carol’s Om Tone.
Why did O’Sullivan want to share this particular sound with others? “I thought the Om would be a unique sound–one that you didn’t have in the project. It’s also a sound that women make in a group, and that’s kind of calming. If you think of the sound of people yelling excitedly at sporting events, this is a group-human sound that has a quite different effect–you have these variations of tone, and that creates a sort of music.”
Thanks for your contribution, Carol O’Sullivan, Kate Kill and Himalayan Institute students, friends and families!