Japa Pranayama | Bija Matra:
Japa means constant repetition. In japa pranayama, you repeat a mantra or an affirmation. Bija mantra is one of the mantra or affirmations you repeat. The repetition allows you to distract from the regular cycle of thought process. It takes your mind away from the trapped thoughts that lead to confusion in your life. Check out other yoga asanas with various health benefits.
Scientists say that when a mantra is chanted rhythmically, it creates a neuro-linguistic effect. Such an effect occurs even if the meaning of the mantra is not known.
“You just need to have a good ear, stay true to the punctuations, pauses, pronunciation, notation, length and the force of the chant and repeat it over and over again. The transformation happens step by step, over a period of time,” says Menaka Desikachar, senior exponent and former director of Vedic chanting at KYM.
Benefits Of Chanting A Mantra | Bija Mantra:
Regular chanting of mantras is believed to wipe out:
- Fear, anger, and depression
- Help relieve disorders of the respiratory, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, speech, intellectual and cognitive systems.
Vedic chanting is said to help develop one’s:
- Mental powers and strength, ease stress and take one to a higher level of consciousness.
- Chanting also improves one’s memory and power of concentration, so crucial if one wants to be an achiever.
- Also, knowing the meaning of what you are chanting tunes your mind towards reaching your goal
Listening to mantras regulates:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Adrenalin level.
But, remember, just like regular medicines, there are specific chants for specific purposes.
Avoid addictions such as kick alcohol, smoking and overcome the urge to overeat, following a daily dose of chanting for over a year
Why A Mantra?
Think of this. On the physical level, voicing a chant in a prescribed way impacts the abdominal area (from where the chant notes are raised), the lungs, the circulatory system and so on,
Chants have been analyzed to be energy-based sounds and voicing a word or a sound produces a physical vibration. Chants thus create thought-energy waves, and the organism vibrates in tune with the energy and spiritual appeal of a chant.
There are a variety of Bija mantras to activate different chakras of your body and mind. AUM chant is the best-known bija mantra. The vibrations caused during the A-U-M chant activates the Manipuraka chakra(the maintenance centre), Anahata Chakra (the creation process) and Vishiddhi chakra (the destroying limitations chakra).
Other common bija mantras include:
- Krim – believed to awaken the lower chakras.
- Shrim – thought to promote health, joy and beauty.
- Hrim – associated with creativity, purification of the heart and healing.
- Hum – energizes the body and eliminates negativity.
In traditional Hatha yoga, each bija mantra is believed to vibrate with the energy of its associated chakra:
- Lam – muladhara (root) chakra
- Vam – svadisthana (spleen or sacral) chakra
- Ram – manipura (solar plexus) chakra
- Yam – anahata (heart) chakra
- Ham – visuddha (throat) chakra
- Sham – ajna (third eye) chakra
- Om – sahasrara (crown) chakra
Japa Pranayama Steps:
- Sit on a rug to conserve body energy.
- Sit with your spine and head comfortably straight, relax your shoulders and close your eyes.
- Keep your palms facing upwards and resting on your thighs.
- Concentrate on normal breathing.
- Start to chant the mantra, consistent with your inhalations and exhalations.
- Chant slowly and clearly, sticking to the exact pronunciation and emphasis. Keep your eyes closed.
- Breathe deep and slow.
- Don’t hold yourself rigid. Let your muscles relax.
- Give it time. The effects are slow but sure to come.
- Repeat the chant 21 times and relax.
Don’t just choose a mantra and start chanting. The benefits of chanting are best achieved by doing it in a proper way.
Learn from a guru. Besides teaching you to pronounce a mantra perfectly, a guru knows which mantra you need.
There are people who have discovered that chanting can take you on a path that leads to a higher plane of well-being. Some stopped drinking, smoking, and overcome the urge to overeat, following a daily dose of chanting for over a year. And some overcame Down’s syndrome who no longer drools or behaves in a disoriented manner. Also, some got their asthma is under control. And personally, I got over menstrual irregularities. Others chanted their way out of chronic depression…try it.
How is Japa performed?
Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture, while performing other activities, or as part of formal worship in group settings.
What is the difference between Japa and meditation?
The difference between Japa and mediation is that Japa will bring your mind to a one-pointed state while meditation is pure silence of the mind.
Can you whisper mantras?
Whispering is said to be a good way to begin with mantra. When your mantra is whispered or hummed it is known as Upamsu Japa. When you whisper or hum, it is not heard by anyone. … This form of repetition is said to require a great level of focus and attention to keep your mind pointed on your mantra.
What is the difference between japa and dhyana?
Dhyaana means meditating on the form of the Lord represented by the name chosen for Japa chanting.
How many types of Japa are there?
There are four different types of japa repetition: Vaikhari (loud audible), Upamshu (whispering), Manasika (mental) and Lakhita (written).
Can I do Japa?
Japa can be practiced aloud, by whispering, or mentally. Mental recitation is said to be the most powerful, but beginners are sometimes taught to audibly voice the mantra or alternate between loud and whispered recitation.