Soham, So Hum, Hansa, or Hamsa refers to Sanskrit terminology with special connotation in Vedic philosophy. This mantra is frequently given to new practitioners of Yoga and meditation. Soham means distinguishing oneself with ultimate existence or the universe. For those who want to meditate, the first word SO is inhaling, and HAM is exhaling. Put together, Soham represents a breathing technique.
Soham stands for an essential mantra in Kriya Yoga, a complete spiritual path exported to the West by Paramhansa Yogananda, and Tantrism (Hindi or Buddhist). OM comes out if we take away the S and H consonants. It is advisable to repeat this mantra mentally to understand the complete benefit of the meditation. Soham makes the individual feel peaceful as well as all-powerful.
I AM HE. This statement answers the basic question, WHO AM I? This is none other than individual self or Brahman. Soham is also the Universal Self, the highest no-dual way of life that the Shri Shankara Bhagavatpadah teaches as stated in the Vedic and Upanishads or Hindu scriptures. We may not be able to understand the everlasting truth because of human ignorance but the Supreme Spiritual Masters help us by eliminating this lack of knowledge to comprehend this Individual Self which is not distinct from God.
Soham is the act of breathing and basis of our lives. Inhalation produces the sound, Soooo and the exhalation is ham. It could be the other way around because both are applicable. They are the same just like Siva and Shakti. Our breathing reminds all of us the principle of Vedas. In Sanskrit, Hamsa also refers to white swan that stands for the individual self. We go into deeper meditation by concentrating on breathing as a very potent technique. Chanting Soham requires the guidance of a veteran master.
Soham comes from Sah or He and Aham or I. He means Shiva. Sanskrit words and letters have the great strength of Shridevi. Aham refers to the joint force of the letters A up to Ha in the Sanskrit alphabet. The power of Shiva and Parvati can be found when we inhale and exhale. Shiva and Shakti produce the breathing that keeps us alive. Shiva and Parvati also look after us. Sah is Shiva while Aham means Shiva’s consciousness. Soham is Shiva and Parvati (Shakti).
Yoga means we unite with our Universal Self. We become one with the God through genuine Yoga. In the same manner, Soham is the product of the merging of Aham or I with Sah or God. Soham is a natural mantra. It is part of our nature.
By chanting Soham, we derive spiritual benefits which give us inner peace of mind. While meditating, our muscles contract and our body relax. Soham meditation teaches us to create a bridge that unites the mind and body and control our nervous system. Finally, we develop blood circulation as well as concentration from Soham chanting. It is a way to a healthy physical and spiritual life.