Japa Meditation: What is it? How to Practice and Benefits
When you are faced with problems from all sides, like work place problems, family problems and other problems, you need something that will help in providing you a soothing relief from these worries. One the best solution for this is meditation. Meditation helps you to focus your mind and connect to the inner self. This way it helps you combat stress. People all over the world are now practicing meditation to get relief from stress, anxiety, negativity and depression. Meditation has many branches and you need to choose a type that suits your requirements.
What is Japa Meditation?
Japa meditation is also known as mantra meditation. It is a technique that uses a mantra or the power of chanting to focus your thoughts and to sooth your mind. This meditation is not limited to people following any religion as such. People from various religious faiths choose their own mantras to practice Japa meditation.
The Japa Meditation Mantras:
As you know, most of the meditations are done in a quiet surrounding, so that nothing can cause any disturbance to the person practicing it. But in Japa meditation, the practitioner needs to chant a word or a small prayer (called mantras) to focus. By chanting this small word or prayer in a rhythmic pattern, your mind will be able to get away from all distractions and gradually connect to your inner self.
You can chant any mantra or hymn when you practice this meditation. There is no hard and fast rule for it. However, majority people choose to chant the word ‘OM’. You can also chant the name of a deity or a sacred word. The only thing is that the word should be a positive connotation.
How to do Japa Meditation?
You can practice Japa meditation techniques during any time of the day when you are free to do. However early morning is considered to be an ideal time for this or any other meditation. You can practice this meditation in two ways.
- The audible Japa meditation is called Vaikhari Japa. It is a form of meditation in which the mantra or hymn is recited in an audible pitch at a rhythm. Some also choose to whisper the chant.
- Silent Japa meditation is also called Manasika Japa. Here you chant the hymn in an inaudible manner. This means you chant it silently without producing any noise. It may be difficult to follow as this can cause you distractions. But once you focus on the mind, you can chant it well and it will be powerful enough to repel any external distraction affecting you.
- For practicing both these forms of mantra, it is important that you sit cross legged on the floor. Keep your back erect. You can keep a mat or a piece of cloth on the floor and sit on it. You can meditate for half an hour or even more based on your free time and your lifestyle. Increase the duration gradually. As you chant the mantra, the rhythm and he sound help in making your mind focussed and calm.
Some practices believe that repeating the mantra 108 times is what makes your meditation successful. If you have a set of prayer beads, then it is easy for you to do it 108 times without any difficulty. If you do not have such a set of beads, you need not worry about chanting it 108 times. Just set the time according to your convenience and repeat the mantra a many times as possible during this time. Setting an alarm will be better.
When you choose to complete a Japa meditation, stick to one mantra. It is not a good practice to begin the meditation with one mantra and then switch to another mantra. Sometimes you may not feel very comfortable with the mantra you chose. But with practice you will see that you are getting comfortable with the manta. By chanting a single mantra repeatedly, you will see that your mind will slip into a deep meditative state. This state will help you to absorb the teachings of the mantra in to your subconscious mind. it will also make your mind calm and peaceful.
Japa Meditation Benefits:
You get a lot of benefits by practicing Japa Meditation. They are as follows.
Calming the mind:
Japa meditation helps in soothing your mind. It can help you get rid of the negative thoughts to a large extent. When you chant the mantras repeatedly in a specific manner, the energy thus created has a great effect on your mind. It helps in reducing anxiety and agitations and calms your mind.
When you are able to remain calm and balanced even in the middle of so many distractions, you will be able to perform your work efficiently despite the hurdles. This way Japa meditation helps in enhancing your productivity.
This is a more flexible form of meditation compared to other forms of meditations. This is because it helps you to choose a mantra on your own that is more akin to your religious beliefs. So, you will not feel that something is being forced on you.
Improved focus and concentration:
This meditation is great for helping you focus on whatever you do. It also increases your concentration. When you do the silent meditation, chances are there that you get distracted by a lot of things. But in mantra meditation the chant helps you to drive away distractions. It can benefit your real life also.