One of the most asked questions regarding SOMA I think is:
What is better between Soma and the Wim Hof Method?
I’ll first start by explaining what is breath work is about.
So while SOMA Breath does fit into the category of breathwork, SOMA Breath also fits into the category of Pranayama. But it still doesn’t totally fit into either category.
SOMA Breath is a complete holistic system of breathwork techniques. There is no one size fits all, and SOMA takes into account the fact that every single person is unique and may require different breathing techniques depending on their needs (especially if health related or medical).
SOMA Therapeutic Breathwork techniques are the core Pranayama techniques that have the most scientific evidence to support their function.
The SOMA Awakening is inspired by the most revered Pranayama technique called Nishessha Rechaka Kumbhaka and the ancient ritual of Soma that appears more than 50,000 times in the ancient text, the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is the basis of modern day Hinduism and the Vedic philosophy that Yoga originates from.
The SOMA Awakening is also inspired by the core breathwork technique of the Wim Hof Method, the work of Dr Prakash Malshe an Indian doctor based near Rishikesh – the birthplace of Yoga – who uses Pranayama and Yoga to treat his patients, and by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati of the Traditional Yoga Association in the UK who has one of the most popular Yoga schools that teaches methods based on the earliest recorded traditional Yoga practices.
SOMA Breath techniques are designed to be practiced regularly, some on a daily basis, and lead to improvements in every area of your life.
How Does SOMA Breath Work?
SOMA Breath takes the fundamental Pranayama techniques listed above, puts them in a certain order, and makes them easy and accessible to anyone who would like to benefit from them.
These breathwork exercises become your toolbox of techniques that you can use to prevent or treat a range of issues that may arise in your body.
Think of SOMA Breath as a means to activate your “Inner Pharmacy” through the power of your breath.
SOMA Therapeutic Breathwork
REST/RELAX: Turn off stress and lower heart rate and blood pressure.
ENERGY: Raise core body temperature, heart rate, and produce a controlled stress response to ward off illness and inflammatory diseases.
LONGEVITY: Experience the benefits of intermittent hypoxia for more stamina, better circulation, and to trigger the circulation and activation of stem cells for anti-aging, longevity, and peak performance.
DETOX: Clear toxins from the gut, clear nasal and sinus congestion, and purify the bloodstream.
CLEANSE: Drink air to purify the digestive system, suppress hunger during a fast, eliminate bad bacteria and promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
BALANCE: Balance and restore the nervous system, create harmony between the left and right hemispheres of your brain, improve heart health and HRV.
The SOMA Awakening
The Awakening is a 90-minute breathwork ceremony featuring a series of ancient breathing techniques arranged into a sequence that combines rhythmical breathing to beat-driven music and includes vocal toning/humming, breath retention, meditation, visualisation techniques, and the activation and transmutation of sexual energy.
This has the power to:
- Awaken dormant parts of the brain.
- Enhance creativity and problem solving.
- Create heightened states of consciousness and inspiration.
- Improve brain function and mind power.
- Cleanse and purify the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
- Stimulate self healing.
- Reduce depression and anxiety.
- Clear negative imprints and traumas from early life (0-7 years).
- Reimprint your mind with more empowering beliefs and habits.
- Set intentions and create the motivation and energy to complete important goals.
- Self realisation: discover your true self and your deepest inner calling.
The Awakening is one of the most popular experiences the SOMA Breath offers. It literally wakes people up to their full human potential!
The Wim Hof Method
The Wim Hof Method has become incredibly popular in recent years. Wim Hof, AKA The Ice Man, created his breathwork methods after mastering Yoga and martial arts from a young age. His method was refined further as he cultivated his relationship with extremely cold conditions. Hof wanted to be able to stay longer in the freezing cold water as it had such a therapeutic effect on relieving his symptoms of depression.
The Wim Hof Method generates heat in the body and brings the mind to a place of stillness so that participants are able to control feelings of fear and stress that arise from being in such cold.
Hof has broken more than 20 World Records: several of them involving his ability to handle extreme weather conditions, proving scientifically that you can control your autonomic nervous system, by harnessing the power of breathwork and meditation (Kox et al., 2012).
What sets this method apart from Rebirthing and Holotropic Breathwork is that the Wim Hof Method is a daily practice, which takes 5-10 minutes to do.
How Does Wim Hof Method Breathwork Work?
The Wim Hof Method consists of 20-30 cycles of continuous connected breathing with no pauses between each inhale and exhale. Similarly to Holotropic and Rebirthing, the exhale should be very relaxed and participants should not exhale fully, but still leave some air in the lungs to breathe in more oxygen than you breathe out. Then, on the final exhale, participants empty their lungs completely and hold their breath for as long as possible.
Participants naturally feel an urge to breathe and when the breath can be held no longer, participants inhale fully and hold their breath again for up to 30 seconds, squeezing the forehead muscles. The entire process is repeated for 2-3 rounds.
An important thing that differentiates the Wim Hof Method breathwork from Rebirthing and Holotropic breathwork is the breath retention phase where you hold your breath out for as long as possible, then hold it in for up to 30 seconds.
Explanation Of The Wim Hof Method
What sets Wim Hof apart from both Leonard Orr and Dr Stan Grof is his enthusiasm for trying to scientifically show exactly what is happening to the mind and body during the breathwork, as well as to explain why people get the health benefits they receive from daily practice.
Hof and his team are transparent in their research, and a lot of it is freely available on The Wim Hof Method website (“The Science Behind The Wim Hof Method”, n. d.).
Wim Hof has been criticised for over-stating the benefits of his breathwork methods and exaggerating the effects. Furthermore, critics who have tried to disprove his method have actually ended up becoming advocates of his breathwork techniques (“Testing The Ice Man”, n. d.).
His method has come under fire following the deaths of two people who practised the method and then submerged themselves in water (Caiola, 2017). It is strongly advised by the Wim Hof Method to never practise in water, nor to practice extreme methods without correct supervision.