Wondering how to do Japa meditation?
I get it, life is hard at times.
So, what better way to clear a murky mind than with Japa meditation?
The practice of Japa has been around for centuries and is regarded as a great way to engage your mind and find spiritual awareness.
Keep reading to learn more…
What Is Japa?
Japa is an ancient practice that is traditionally used during meditation and yoga.
It involves reciting the name of a deity and is believed to help remove impurities, eliminate sins and lead to samadhi, which is communication with the deity.
There are different practices of Japa, each with different approaches.
In some the mantra is chanted silently, some are said out loud and others are written down.
The Practice of Japa
Japa is seen as an important part of yoga, as it’s said to lead to peace of mind.
The word mantra is a Sanskrit word with “man” meaning to think and “tra” meaning to protect. The mantra is a divine power that is powered by sound and vibrations.
To truly immerse yourself in Japa you need to shut the outside world out and only concentrate on the sounds within your chanted mantra.
There are many different mantras that can be used, the key is to try different ones until you discover the perfect one for you.
Varieties of Japa
As with most practices, Japa isn’t limited to one version. In fact, there are many different varieties of Japa out there.
Some incorporate silent meditation while others use music and rhythm to communicate their message to the deity.
Below are a list of some of the most practiced varieties of Japa and what these involve.
This is the silent form of chanting and is regarded as one of the highest forms of meditation.
It’s important that when you practice Manasika Japa that you close your mouth and keep your tongue still.
Throughout this form of meditation eyes should remain shut so that you can truly immerse yourself into this practice.
The chosen mantra is silently repeated throughout the meditation session.
During this form of Japa all mantras are softly whispered.
You must use your lips and tongue to pronounce the words.
The chant remains quiet enough so that no one nearby can hear you.
During this practice, the mantra is repeatedly written down in lines, shapes or forms.
As well as writing down mantras, images can also be drawn or colored in.
As this form of meditation takes place you can ask the deity questions, listen to the response and give thanks for the practice.
This repetitive writing method of Japa is meant to help bring peace and inner strength.
This is the loudest form of Japa. The given mantra is said out loud in repetition.
This verbal form of Japa isn’t said to be as effective as Manasika Japa but it’s favored among beginners.
Saying a mantra out loud with a group is a great way of starting your Japa journey. Not only is it great fun but it’s also good for cleansing the mind.
If you’re interested in Japa meditation but aren’t sure what the procedures for it are, then read on as below I’ve listed the key benefits of Japa meditation, handy techniques and do’s and don’ts.
The Benefits of Japa Meditation
Japa meditation has been used for centuries as an effective tool to clear the mind and find enlightenment.
It’s said to reduce stress and help calm the mind. It can help aid a healthy heart by helping to reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Concentration and focus can be improved, negative thoughts reduced and your mood boasted.
Over time and commitment the mantras are said to activate shakti energy that is said to contain a deep inner power and strength.
Unless the mantra has been given to you by your instructor then you should choose the mantra that you’re the most drawn to.
During meditation, you should maintain a comfortable posture and pose.
Repeat each mantra as if you’re doing it for the first time. Each word must be heartfelt and meaningful.
Make sure that your pronunciation is accurate and maintain a steady speed.
The mantra can be repeated daily from between 108 times to 1,080 times.
Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t repeat a mantra just for the sake of it. Make sure that each repetition is said with meaning and awareness.
If meditating in the morning then it is custom to wash your face, mouth, hands, and feet first.
Meditate at one of the three junctions of the day which are morning, noon or evening. It’s good practice to stick to the same time every day.
It’s common practice to face north or east during your meditation as this is best practice for body alignment.
Mantras for Japa
Mantras help put our minds into a deep state of meditation, help calm our thoughts and hold sacred energy within.
Below is a list of 5 of the most favored mantras, so that you can find the one that works best for you.
The best mantra to begin with is Om. It’s regarded as the hymn of the universe and its vibrations are considered to be highly powerful.
It’s believed amongst yogis and spiritualists that Om was the first sound during the creation of the universe.
Om is viewed as the root of all verbal communications between humans and chanting it is said to help you connect with your true self.
Using Om at the beginning and end of mantras to help reflect on the session is great practice for the mind.
This mantra is also great for beginners because it is closing linked to your breathing. As you inhale imagine the sound “Om” and as you exhale, imagine the sound “Hum.”
Practicing this mantra helps improve focus and concentration.
Om Namah Shivayah
This is another mantra that includes Om and is a favorite among yogis.
It’s connected to the supreme Hindu god, Shiva and is said to promote self-realization and spiritual awareness.
Each syllable in this mantra represents 1 of the 5 elements: Earth, fire, air, water and space.
The significance behind this mantra makes it very powerful and it’s said that those that meditate with this mantra often can sometimes have spiritual and supernatural experiences as a result.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
The word shanti derives from the ancient language of Pali and it means “peace.”
This mantra contains Om, which is considered amongst some to be the sound of the universe.
During this mantra the word shanti is chanted 3 times because it represents peace of mind, peace of body and peace when interacting with others.
Seeking peace and goodwill for yourself and others is the true essence of this mantra.
This mantra also uses Om. The word guru is placed in front or after it to pay respects to the guru.
Om Guru Om can also be chanted, it’s best to play around with the 3 different mantra variations until you find the one which works best for you.
The Hindu’s believe that gurus are incarnations of gods, so chanting to one is considered to result in a very powerful meditation practice.
Mala beads are also known as prayer beads and comprise of a string made up of 108 beads with the summit bead known as the “sumeru.”
During mantra practice sometimes each bead can be touched, which helps to focus the mind on the mantra and to keep track of repetition.
All mala beads have a guru bead that you may dedicate to someone wise in your life. Below this bead is usually a tassel that symbolizes the lotus flower which is seen as a sign of purity.
Mala beads are frequently used in Japa and mantra meditation and are popular amongst yogis, Hindus, and Buddhists.
The Rules of Using Mala Beads?
It’s important to look after your mala beads. Keep them in a clean place such as in a mala bag.
Don’t let anymore else use your mala beads and in return don’t touch or use theirs, as your beads are sacred to you.
If one of the mala beads breaks or chips then it’s important to replace it.
You should also remove your mala beads before you go to sleep.
How to Meditate with Japa Mala?
Morning is the perfect time to meditate, although you don’t have to stick to this time if it isn’t convenient.
During Japa meditation try to keep your mala beads in front of your third eye, which is in the center of your forehead.
With your right hand use your middle finger and thumb to touch and move the beads in time to the mantra.
Don’t use your index finger as it represents the ego-mind.
What are Malas Made From?
These beads are typically made up of 108 beads, although they can also contain 18, 27 and 54.
They’re made using the wood of the bodhi tree or bodhi seeds. The bodhi tree is symbolic and represents enlightenment.
What are the Benefits of Mala?
There are many benefits of mala, for instance, they help transform negative thoughts into positive ones.
they can be used for peace of mind, enlightenment and to help aid healing processes.
Mala beads deepen meditation when used during yoga and help you to channel your inner thoughts.
The Different Types of Mala Beads
Mala beads come in many different varieties. The color, size and length are pretty much down to you and it’s best to pick the one you’re most drawn to.
They commonly have 108 beads but this isn’t always the case. They can come in both necklace and bracelet form.
All mala beads have something below the guru bead, this is usually a tassel but it can also be a gemstone, pendant or charm.
FAQs- The Short Answers
There is so much information on Japa and it can all become a bit confusing.
Below are short, to-the-point answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Japa meditation.
Question 1: What is Japa?
Japa in an ancient practice in which a mantra is repeated in honor of a deity. It’s also used to focus your mind and find inner peace.
There are different forms of Japa practises including written, silent and ones spoken out loud.
Japa is often used with mala beads, as it’s said to bring clarity of mind and help discover enlightenment.
Question 2: How Effective is the Japa Mantra?
Japa meditation is extremely powerful because it uses sound vibrations to shift your brain state and help heal and restore energy.
Frequent Japa meditation is likely to lead to a calm mind, which means less anxiety, negativity and stress.
There are many mantras to choose from, so there really is a mantra out there to suit everyone.
Question 3: What is the Main Goal of Japa?
The main goal of Japa is to overcome a negative mindset and feel calm and mindful.
It’s all about harnessing your mind’s energy so that it can flow correctly and bring light and clarity into your life.
Japa is all about being spiritually aware, finding peace of mind and going on a journey of self-discovery.
Final Thoughts on Japa Meditation
Whether you are a Japa meditation beginner or already a pro, this practice of mantra really is open to everyone.
My advice would be to invest in some mala beads and try some of the different practices of mantra until you find the right one for you.