Soham (So Hum) meditation is a combination of mantra meditation and mindful breathing, combining the benefits of both methods.
Soham (So Ham) is a Sanskrit term which means “That I am” or “He is I.” Soham is the sound of one’s own breath which can be interpreted as speaking of the oneness of the individual with god. The Soham meditation is a combined mantra and breath meditation. Soham (or So Hum) is the natural sound of one’s breathing – while listening to your breath you may find that the inhaling breath sounds like “So” while exhaling produces the sound “Ham”.
In Sanskrit, “So” means “That” or “He” and signifies the Divine, the Self, the Godhead or Absolute Reality. “Ham” means “I am”. Indian spirituality has always taught that the “I am” is the same in all beings and that inquiry into this “I am” leads to the realization of the oneness of the individual and Divine Self. However, as long as the “I am” is identified with the physical body or the mind (in short, with the transient personality), there is the illusion of separateness from God.
How to Do the Soham Meditation
In the Soham meditation, one simple thinks “So” with each inhalation and “Ham” with each exhalation along with the natural sounds of the breathing. In the beginning of the practice, one may either reflect on the meaning of the mantra or simply listen to the sound of the mantra in one’s mind. Eventually, however, all discursive thinking and reflection should be given up in order to concentrate the mind wholly on the mantra. When you find that your mind has wandered, simply bring it back to the mantra. It may be helpful to calmly acknowledge the distraction by labelling it (for example: planning, remembering, imagining, fear, worry, desire) before returning to the mantra.
The Hindu and yoga (and Buddhist) traditions regard the breath as universal. As the same air is shared with all breathing beings, so the same “I am” exists in all living beings. In Yoga, the breath (prana) is seen as closely related to the life-force or vital energy (also called prana). Just like the air and the breath, the life-force is also universal and shared by all living beings. In short, there is only one life, expressing itself in many forms. What’s death to the physical body is merely a passage to a new form of existence to the soul. And while bodies may die and perish and souls travel between physical and subtle existence, the spirit (atma), the “I am” is neither born nor can it die. Thus, the Soham mantra can also be seen as a reminder of the immortality of the true Self, look at this site.
Tips for Soham Meditation Practice
Like all meditation techniques, the Soham meditation is ideally practiced in an upright position with an alert but relaxed mind. In addition to sitting meditation, it can also be practiced while walking, driving and even while lying down, for example before falling asleep. Accompanying the breath with the mantra tends to calm and deepen the breath which in turn calms and clears the mind. In some ways, Soham meditation can be regarded as a combination of mantra meditation and mindful breathing, combining the benefits of both methods.