Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Yam Mean?

Yam is a bija, or seed, mantra associated with the anahata (heart) chakra. Bija mantras are one-syllable sounds and, in traditional Hatha yoga, some are associated with the chakras, or centers of concentrated energy that are located in the body along the spinal column. These bija mantras are believed to vibrate with the energy of their specific chakras.

In addition to single syllables, mantras can be words, phrases or longer chants and are recited for the power of their sound vibrations, rather than any particular meaning ascribed to them. In yoga, bija mantras are chanted to calm, cleanse and balance the body and mind.


Yogapedia Explains Yam

By reciting yam, the yogi focuses on the energy of the anahata chakra, the center of love and acceptance. It is also located at the center of the seven main chakras. This chakra is where the physical body and the spiritual meet and, therefore, affects physical and spiritual wellbeing. When activated, the anahata chakra promotes love, compassion, forgiveness and both self-acceptance and acceptance of others.

The other six bija mantras associated with major chakras include:

  • Lam — root chakra (muladhara)
  • Vam — spleen/sacral chakra (svadhisthana)
  • Ram — solar plexus/navel chakra (manipura)
  • Ham (or hum) — throat chakra (vishuddhi)
  • Om — third eye chakra (ajna)
  • Om (silent) — crown chakra (sahasrara)

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