So Hum Meditation

Banyan friend, Jennifer

“When sound, breath, and awareness come together, it becomes light… So Hum meditation properly practiced leads to the union of the individual with the universal Cosmic Consciousness. You will go beyond thought, beyond time and space, beyond cause and effect. Limitations will vanish.” — Dr. Vasant Lad1


So Hum Meditation has existed in India throughout the ages. It synchronizes the movement of the breath with the mantra that fits naturally into the inhalation (So) and exhalation (Hum). So is felt and said mentally during the whole phase of inhalation and Hum during the exhalation. The literal translation of So Hum is “I am that,” while the deeper meaning is “I am that pure awareness.” This mantra calms the mind, yet simultaneously focuses and sharpens it…2

How to Practice

Begin by taking several slow, deep breaths, establishing yourself in the practice of Full Yogic Breath. When you are ready to practice So Hum, shift your awareness as follows.*


(As described in Dr. Vasant Lad & Anisha Durve's book: Marma Points of Ayurveda) 2
Reprinted with permission from The Ayurvedic Press. All Rights Reserved.


As you breathe in, feel that you are beginning the inhalation at the base of the spine. With the inhale, draw your awareness up the front of the body, along the midline, to the center of the brain. Mentally chant “So” during this inhalation. When you reach the top of the inhale, hold the breath in a short retention.

As you breathe out, mentally chant “Hum.” Visualize the breath leaving the center of the brain, moving down the throat and returning to the base of the spine along the midline of the back of the body. When you reach the bottom of the exhale, pause before beginning [again].


so hum dr. vasant lad drawing

Drawing by Dr. Vasant Lad


1 Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print. 79.

2 Lad, Vasant D. and Anisha Durve. Marma Points of Ayurveda: The Energy Pathways for Healing Body, Mind and Consciousness with a Comparison to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2008. Print. 85-86.

* This section was added by Banyan Botanicals. Except for this brief introduction to the practice itself, these instructions to So Hum are entirely in the words of Dr. Vasant Lad.

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