So Hum Meditation: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to So Hum Meditation [Infographic]


So Hum meditation is a simple yet effective technique that uses breath and repetition of a mantra to achieve mental tranquility and a state of joy and inner peace. The So Hum Mantra is chanted silently in one’s own mind.

While practicing So Hum meditation, we sit quietly and observe our breath while adding the sound So as we inhale, and Hum as we exhale.

(Note: An infographic of “So Hum Meditation” has been included at the end of this article. You can download the print-ready version of this infographic by clicking here!)

So Hum Meditation

So Hum Mantra and Its Significance

So Hum (also called soham) is a combination of two Sanskrit wordsSo and Hum. Hum means ‘I’ or ‘an individual’s ego’ and So means “that”. In this case, “that” refers to the divine life energy or the universal spirit. In vedic philosophy, so hum is interpreted as “identifying oneself with the universe or the ultimate reality.”

So when we chant the So Hum mantra in our mind while meditating, we are saying, “I am ONE with the universe.”

When we inhale, the life energy goes in and when we exhale, our ego goes out.

That is the true essence of So Hum meditation.

You’re inhaling everything that is divine, everything that gives you energy and focus; and exhaling your ego and limited individuality.

The roots of So Hum meditation are firmly entrenched in the Vedas and Upanishads. The phrase “So Hum” is used several times in the Principal Upanishads.

In Isha Upanishad, So Hum is mentioned in phrase 16 which end with the So Hum mantra:

pūṣannekarṣe yamasūrya prājāpatya
vyūha raśmīn samūha |
tejo yatte rūpaṃ kalyāṇatamaṃ tatte paśyāmi
yo’sāvasau puruṣaḥ so’hamasmi ||


O, Nourisher, O lonely Courser
of the heavens, O Regulator,
O Sun, thou offspring of Prajapati,
Remove Thy rays, gather up thy effulgence,
So that I may see that which is
Thy most auspicious effulgence.
The Person that is in Thee, That am I.

(Source: Wisdom Library)

It is also mentioned several times in Adi Shankaracharya’s Vakya Vritti, one of the foundational texts for BKS Iyengar’s Hatha Yoga.

Related: Loving Kindness Meditation – A Zen Technique to Boost Compassion

In modern times, the So Hum mantra is used in the practice of yoga. It acts as a natural mantra to control to help us breathe deeply and concentrate while practicing yoga. It’s also used in Kriya Yoga and Art of Living’s popular Sudarshan Kriya meditation technique.

Benefits of So Hum Meditation

  1. Inner Peace and tranquility: While all meditation techniques help in achieving a sense of inner peace and tranquility, So Hum meditation is one of the most effective among these techniques.
  2. Mindfulness and concentration: You have to be very mindful while practicing So Hum meditation. It is a systematic meditation practice. It requires your complete attention. As we practice So Hum regularly, we get accustomed to focusing our thoughts on So Hum mantra alone, making us better at mindfulness and improving our concentration.
  3. Improves blood circulation: As So Hum meditation is mainly focused on the technique of breathing, it develops the blood circulation in our body. This is because, as we breathe in, we take in oxygen, vital for the life energy required by our body.
  4. Stress reduction and relaxation: As you get more mindful, you’ll start focusing on your inner energy rather than outer reality. This realization will help reduce stress and bring in a deep sense of relaxation.
  5. Sense of wellbeing and happiness: In today’s environment where we are constantly exposed to so many stressful situations, it’s so important for us to retain our wellbeing and find happiness in new ways. So Hum meditation plays a key part in helping us achieve that.

How to Practice So Hum Meditation

  1. Select a quiet, comfortable place. Sit in sukhasana (crosslegged position). If you’re not comfortable in this position, then sit on a chair or couch. Keep your spine straight, close your eyes, and keep your hands rested on your knees with palms facing upwards.
  2. Take a few deep breaths. Observe the inflow and outflow of breath.
  3. Now take a deep breath and as you inhale, think of the word So.
  4. As you exhale, think of the word Hum.
  5. Continue to observe your breath as you mentally chant the So Hum mantra.
  6. Whenever you get distracted by a thought, quietly bring your mind back to the breath, silently repeating So Hum.
  7. Continue with So Hum meditation for 5-10 minutes.

Tip: It’s advisable to practice So Hum meditation early in the morning on an empty stomach to get maximum benefits.

In the beginning, it may be useful to set a timer of 5-10 minutes. Use a meditation app like Sattva to time your sessions. As you get used to the practice of So Hum meditation, you can increase the duration as per your convenience.

At the start of this practice, it is common for our minds to get distracted and carried away by a thought. Don’t get agitated or discouraged when this happens. Be mindful of your thoughts and bring your attention back to the breath and continue the practice.

So Hum meditation, when practiced regularly, leads to inner peace, tranquility, and happiness as our ego-related issues begin to gradually diminish.

So Hum Meditation: Infographic

[sc name=”So Hum Meditation Infographic”]

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for comprehensiveness. 

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  1. Like you said, it’s used in Sudarshan Kriya by AOL group. It has really helped me in the past. Need to start practicing this once again. Thanks for this!

  2. […] Buddha’s message is crystal clear. Achieving inner peace is effortless. It is not something to struggle for. It is an effortless process which will happen on its own. The practice of mindfulness is central to Buddhist philosophy where one observes the thoughts without passing any judgment or reacting to them. There are several mindfulness meditation techniques which can help us in achieving a calm and peaceful state of mind. […]


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