So Ham Meditation

For thousands of years, people have used meditation to contact the stillness that is the source of all awareness. In this meditation, you will learn a simple practice to return to Source.

So Ham* is the greatest of all ancient mantras. You were born with it. It is in your breath. As you inhale, the natural sound of the breath is So, and as you exhale, the natural sound of the breath is Ham (pronounced hum). You repeat this mantra 21,600 times 24 hours a day without awareness. Even during sleep, the So Ham repetition continues automatically.

Breath contains oxygen and the vital life force or spiritual energy. They are inseparable. As such, breath is the connection between inner and outer worlds. So Ham can be translated as ‘I Am/That,’ identifying the individual as the Divine.

The only physiological function that is both voluntary and involuntary is breathing. Breathing can be controlled consciously by the mind or allowed to function automatically like other physiological functions, like digestion, under the control of the body.

During this meditation, conscious breathing and mantra repetition are combined. This type of mantra repetition is termed Ajapa-Mantra because it is done without moving the lips along with the breath.

To begin, find yourself in a comfortable seated position. Allow the body to become still. Direct your full awareness to the breath. Don’t try to control or change it. Just breathe. Spend some time here.

Take a few cleansing breaths. On inhalation, mentally breathe in coolness and light. On exhalation, feel all your cares and worries drifting away.

Mentally repeat So as you inhale, mentally repeat Ham as you exhale. Breathe with feeling and focus. Concentrate on the meaning behind the mantra. See yourself as ‘That’ with emotion. This deepens the impression.

At times, the mantra will reverse itself; So Ham will become Ham Sah. We say ‘God is Love – Love is God.’ Repetition of So Ham – Ham Sah and Ham Sah – So Ham’ becomes more powerful, and strengthens the practice when you combine the two.

Grow this technique gently over time. When beginning, breathe for a few minutes twice a day – preferably dusk and dawn. If you simply concentrate on the breath, if you simply watch the breath, if you simply listen to the breath, that is enough.


  1. “Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries — yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease. . . . deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and prayer suppresses inflamation stress, trama, and cancer.” “Studies suggest that practicing yoga might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.”


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