21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 21

Day 9: Soham

20 min - Practice


Upping our meditation game and continuing with a mantra-based meditation practice, we are adding the breath's natural mantra of Soham, which means 'I am that.' With the use of mantra we begin to track our minds along a positive internal vibration.
What You'll Need: No props needed


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Hey Yogis, it's meditation number nine, and we are upping our game today. So we're really going to move into mantra-based meditation, which comes from the yoga tradition and has incredible significance. As I mentioned in earlier meditations, mantra, one of the definitions or translations of mantra is mind protection. So the theory is that our mind is naturally active, and it's very challenging to get quiet and still. So with the use of mantra, we begin to track our minds along a positive internal sound, internal vibration.

For some of us, this might be more challenging than the kind of counting breath awareness, body awareness meditations. So let's see how it goes. We're going to start very simply with so hum. And it means I am that, and it is said to be the actual sound of your breath. So we'll start with our usual kind of alignment check-in, and then I will guide you into the use of this mantra, so hum, very, very, very ancient mantra used for thousands of years.

So let's begin. Today I'm sitting crossed legs on a little bit more height for greater ease in the knees. Do what you need to do to be good and comfortable as you begin. Placing your eyes, placing your hands, sense of landing, settling, you're here, you're on your cushion for the next 21 minutes. And as your attention goes from being focused somewhere else through the day, you're now shifting it inwards, so you're becoming more sensitive and more self-aware.

So as usual, begin with your body, it's important that you're set up well, allowing your base to ground down. If anything needs readjusting in your feet or your knees or your sitting bones, do that now. Depending on how you're choosing to sit, either centered on the sitting bones or maybe a little on the front side of the sitting bones. And then having that sense of grounding, it's important to establish your base, that feeling of being connected so that you can align your spine, moving the top of the sacrum a little bit in to initiate the curve of your lower back. Stack your vertebrae, lift tall through the crown of the head, lining your shoulder girdle so that both the chest and the upper back feel wide and balanced.

And then you've set yourself up for good posture, for a lengthened spine. And now you can begin to relax around the structure, to actually intentionally look for where you might be gripping or holding and let go. Giving yourself the permission and the time to relax, which sometimes can be really challenging. Let yourself now relax. And then that check-in that you do, the inner layers, just observing as you get still what's going on.

Really moving attention towards your breath, observing your breath, and as I've said now many times, sometimes the moment we place attention on the breath, it suddenly doesn't feel very natural. It can even feel awkward. Or there's an urge to change the breath. Okay, now I'm going to breathe deeply. Head just back away and stay with the breath mentally until it feels natural again.

Feels like the breath is just breathing itself and you're observing. And in a similar way to yesterday, we are going to link the mantra with the natural breathing. So on the inhalation, hum on the exhalation, said to be the sound of the breath and it translates as I am that. So when you're ready, create the link. When you breathe in, so when you breathe out, hum over and over and over in your mind's eye with every natural breath, so hum.

And like all of our techniques thus far, when you catch yourself distracted, you've lost the mantra, you're somewhere else, you gently come back, find the breath, and then the mantra. So hum. Okay? Thank you. Thank you.

Linking with your breathing, two points of focus, actual rhythm of your breath, and the mantra, so hum. Even in just practicing this meditation, you are linking back through thousands of years of tradition. So hum. So particularly if this is challenging for you, this mantra-based meditation, keep using both tools, breath and mantra, linking so to inhalation, hum to exhalation. It will help you stay focused a little bit better.

Thank you. You may find, particularly if this mantra meditation is resonating for you, you may find that you lose the particular link of the mantra with the breath, that you're just breathing effortlessly, naturally, and hearing the mantra internally without so in the inhale and hum on the exhale. So if you move into that state, don't feel that you need to go back to linking onto the breath. Just stay in the mantra, relaxed. But if it is challenging for you, the mind is moving quite a bit away from the meditation.

So on the inhale and hum on the exhale. Really use the technique when needed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Continue to be aware of the mantra, hearing that inner sound, tracking your mind along that inner sound. Also be aware of your body. If there's any sinking or slouching or collapse into your lower back, remember to lift up through the plumb line, stack the vertebra, and soften around your alignment. And then continuing just a few more minutes using the mantra.

This particular mantra is very internalizing, very calming and internalizing. Each mantra has its own unique energy quality, so hum, very calming and inwardly. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now, last moments of your meditation. Soon coming to a close to stay with that inner sound, I am that, so hum. Now as we're coming to the completion, you can release the technique. And as always, pay attention. What are the particular insights or benefits or observations from this meditation?

Check in on those inner layers. Every technique is really different, and we are all unique and individual. Really paying attention to what you experience with the various techniques I'm offering. Join our hands, bring them together, the heart. Namaste.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through nine meditations. Today was, I think, very different. Tomorrow, more of the same as we move into meditation number 10. And as we continue through the process, I'm going to keep kind of increasing the space and the challenge of meditating to really prepare you to meditate on your own without me. Thank you.


Debra D
2 people like this.
Thank you so much for your guidance Nikki. I too have found soham to be a particularly calming mantra. If I wake in the night I often use the mantra soham hamsa... after breathing with this I generally return to a deep restful sleep. 🌺🙏🏻🌺
Nikki Estrada
Its Debra one of my favs....
1 person likes this.
interesting and different again - something coming through about acceptance. thanks v much.
Melissa H
1 person likes this.
Amazing how deep I am able to get with this mantra. I find my upper back gently flex as I go so far inwardly. Does this self-correct over time?
Nikki Estrada
Melissa I think its just due to gravity and we tend to start sinking after sitting a while. I re-align myself several times during a sit- lengthen back up and remove the rounding of the upper back. So much of how we are living now (driving, phones, computers) pulls us forward and down.
Chrys M
1 person likes this.
Love the Soham mantra. I really resonated with it. Thank you.
Nikki Estrada
Chrys it just always works for me....so calming for my mind and body
1 person likes this.
very 'grounding' - so pleased to still have access to this wonderful practice. many thanks
Lori L
1 person likes this.
My favorite so far!  This mantra was so calming and I was able to go very deep.  Thank you!
Nikki Estrada
Lori I feel the same way about this mantra. 
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