Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nurturing Independence with Yoga: So Hum Meditation

teaching students to meditate
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

So Hum Meditation is a meditation technique that is alluded to in several ancient Yogic texts, including a commentary on the Shiva Sutras and a number of Vedantic Upanishads. This meditation is profoundly relaxing. The use of the sacred mantra “So Hum” helps to quell an overactive mind and focus a Yoga practitioner’s attention on the expansive field of awareness in his or her own being. In Buddhism, this expansiveness is referred to as the clear light of bliss. The mantra “So Hum” is literally translated as: I am that. 

In this context, “I am” refers to each individual as a metaphorical drop in the ocean. Although each one of us may only be a drop, we are comprised of the same divine energy that imbues all of creation with prana. This divine energy is known by different spiritual traditions by a variety of names including the Holy Spirit, the Great Creator and Brahman. The second part of the mantra “Hum,” refers to the energetic vibration of all creation. When we repeat the mantra So Hum as we focus on the Ajna Chakra, which is located at the point between the eyebrows, our mind and heart can come to rest in our essential divinity. 

When we are able to rest, even momentarily, in our own divine nature, our vital life force energy is restored and our mind begins to release its relentless machinations. The So Hum mantra is optimally received from an enlightened Yogi or Yogini. However, not all Yoga students have easy access to an enlightened master who is able to bestow this mantra in its enlivened state. By saying a quick prayer of gratitude to the masters who have blessed you with the knowledge of So Hum before proceeding with your meditation session, you will energetically connect yourself with the wisdom of this lineage of Yoga masters. 

By practicing a balanced assortment of Yoga poses, breathing exercises and meditation techniques, you will increase your ability to react independently of habitual thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. In addition to a consistent practice of Yoga asanas and pranayama exercises, including a period of meditation into your practice will give you some breathing room from dependent tendencies and nurture your connection with the still point of light within your own heart. 

* So Hum Meditation

The So Hum Meditation is best practiced at the beginning of a Yoga class or at the end of class just prior to or after Shavasana. When you are ready to practice the So Hum Meditation, come to an easy sitting position on your Yoga mat or on a chair. If you are sitting on a Yoga mat and your hips are tight, place a folded blanket underneath you for support. If you are sitting on a chair, place your feet flat on the floor or rest them on a pillow on the floor. Keep your spine comfortably erect and your hands folded in your lap or on your knees in jnana mudra with your thumb and forefinger touching. 

You may wish to use a timer so that you do not have to worry about keeping track of the time. Set your watch or timer to the amount of time you have to meditate today. When you are ready, with your next inhale; silently repeat “So.” As you draw in fresh oxygen, bring your awareness to your Third Eye Chakra. Focus your awareness on the space between your eyebrows. Pause, and repeat, “Hum” as you exhale fully. As you release the breath that sustains you, know that your life force energy is merging back into the web of life all around you. 

Continue to repeat “So” on your inhale and “Hum” as you exhale. Some Yogis or Yoginis find it to be more effective to repeat, “Hum” on the inhale and “So” on the exhale. Choose the rhythm that works best for you today. If your mind wanders, gently and compassionately bring your awareness back to your Third Eye or Ajna Chakra. When your meditation period ends, close your practice of the So Hum Meditation by folding your hands in Anjali Mudra at your heart and give thanks for the expanded awareness of the pulsation of divinity within your own being. 

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division


parvezbdjsr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
parvezbdjsr said...

Using the sacred mantra “So Hum” helps us to quell our overactive mind and focus a our attention on the expansive field of awareness in our own being. Nice article!

Mary Wilson said...

When we repeat the mantra So Hum as we focus on the Ajna Chakra and for that our mind and heart can come to rest in our essential divinity. Really its a good article!

Virginia said...

It is so nice to see that you all are enjoying the article I wrote. Thank-you for your positive comments. Namaste ~ Virginia