First, we should know what is meant by Japa. Japa is the repetition of anything; it can be the name of the lord or a mantra. It is an important part of yogic practices and makes it easy to reach the meditative state. Dhyana or meditation is an important part of yoga but very difficult to practice. But if Japa is combined with Dhyana it becomes easy. Japa takes the path of a form associated with a name and form. For example, if you think of the name of your mother a form stands before your mind. Similarly, when you take the name of the lord repetitively, the form appears in the form of darshan.
According to the divine book, “Bhagavad-Gita,Thus” Japa is the highest form of Yajna. One verse in Gita says “Yajnam Japa Yajno Asmi” meaning among all the kinds of Yajna I am Japa. Thus,Krishna says invariably that Japa is the ultimate way to praise the lord, and of course the easiest way to salvation. Thus Japa Yoga bestows upon you Bhakti and Mukti together which is not possible with other forms of Yoga.
The constant chanting of a mantra leads to a sonic boom which binds the mind, body and soul in a singular direction thus removing the noise in life. Japa can help progress through the different stages of Ashtanga Yoga, starting from the third stage of Asana.
The way to Practice Japa Yoga
- Select a Mantra give by the Guru. It can be “OM” which is the self reverberating mantra.
- Chant this mantra loudly, slowly and keep the chant very steady.
- When the loud chanting is rhythmic you can transcend to Murmuring the Mantra, where you are the only one able to hear it.
- Once you think that you can picture the mantra very clearly in your mind, murmuring can also stop. Your mind will automatically chant it.
- The place to practice Japa a must be a quiet place with least noise and disturbance.
- The four asanas to practice Japa can be Padmasana, Sukhasana, Vajrasana and Sidhasana.
- The mantra should be chanted 108 times to complete a cycle.
- The chanting can be started through a Japa mala to keep the count which is an important part of Japa Yoga.
Benefits of Japa Yoga
- Trains the mind to make it pure known as Chitha Shudhi in Yoga texts.
- Burns and removes all stored negative energy (Vasana) from the mind and body making us free of sin.
- Improves the concentrating power taking it to a different level altogether.
- Inculcating noble thoughts which get converted into noble deeds.