Tattoos, OMducation and Change

What’s up with hippies and tattoos? Yoga teachers and tattoos? Punk rockers and tattoos? Is it just art on skin or is it something more? The tattoos that I do have (only 3!) have marked significant time periods in my life. So important when I got them, but as time, and the bright colors of the tattoo fade, I forget why I needed them in the first place.

When I started my first 200hr yoga training in 2006, I got a tattoo to celebrate my journey. It’s a simple OM on the inside of my left wrist. Originally it was white with a purple outline. I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to really notice it, because the reasoning behind it was so personal. After a few weeks I realized that I wanted to see it more so i had it touched up. I wanted it to be a daily reminder of my journey, my practice, my hopes and my dreams. But mostly, my big huge dreams of leaving corporate law to live a more fulfilling life.

To a yogi, there is not symbol more powerful than Om. Om is a vibration. Om is often chanted at either the beginning or the end of a Yoga class to establish that the time spent in sadhana(spiritual practice) is different than the other parts of your day.

OM is not a word but rather an intonation which, like music, transcends the barriers of race, culture and even species. It is the original mantra, the root of all sounds and letters, and therefore of all language and thought. If repeated with the correct intonation, it can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates through the center of one’s being, the atman of the soul. The vibrational frequency of OM is the same as the Earth’s frequency -it has even been measured by NASA!

This is Om. Why did I choose Om?

I chose Om because I was seeking change. All encompassing, earth shattering change. It represented freedom from my corporate chains. I wanted needed a life path that was more fulfilling. I didn’t know what it looked like, but I wanted the change to be all encompassing, pervasive, rippling through me… just like the vibration of OM.

In my daily corporate grind, I hid my new ink with sleeves or a silver cuff bracelet. OM just wasn’t appropriate in their world., but just looking at my silver cuff knowing what was underneath, I was inspired. And empowered. Every night I would unveil it and make my way from South Boston to Quincy for my yoga training. Each time I looked at my wrist I felt a rush. My face would flush with excitement and I knew that I had the strength within me to make whatever changes my life needed.

It’s funny that it took tattoo ink (body mutilation as my Mother likes to call it) for me to realize that I had the strength within me and to feel empowered enough to change my life path. That strength was really in me all along. I just needed to realize it was there. So what’s the point of this post? Flaunting my no-so-original OM tattoo? Providing a little Omducation? Both? Maybe neigther? I’m not sure. But I figured if I can talk about the little catalysts for change in my life, it may empower someone else to create change in theirs.

Like Ghandi said, you gotta be the change.

And with that, I’ll leave you to rock out to a little MC Yogi 🙂

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