Japa Meditation - An Awakening of your Transcendental Energy
Modern society today is typified with a profusion of meaningless noise. We are always caught up with either social media or technology. We often forget to take a moment back and understand who we are.
In today's corporate world, stressing and burning out has become the new normal. But it is high time we pay heed to our wellness and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Since most of our minds are filled with stress and chaos, very few know how to handle it. But with meditation, we can finally get in tune with our body and mind to understand ourselves better and live with peace. It is thus considered the natural antidote to stress.
Both employers and employees can engage themselves in some mindfulness Japa meditation sessions to break from the chain of boredom in the workforce.
This article will explore Japa meditation and how we can practice it at work to boost our mood in the workplace.
What is Japa meditation?
Fitting into your transcendental energy might be difficult, but that is where meditation can help. Meditation could mean different things to different people.
Many consider it a quiet observation, wherein others often consider it a practice of self-awareness or reflection upon themselves.
But one key element of meditation that remains the same is the repetition of a sound or a prayer. It focuses the mind on connecting with the inner balance of well-being.
In meditation practice, Japa meditation holds a special place. It is the process of mentally repeating a mantra or chanting a phrase while meditating using a mala. The word Japa means muttering in Sanskrit.
Japa meditation is also known as mantra meditation because it involves the chanting of a mantra. The meditative practice of Japa keeps the human mind steady and resistant to disturbance.
The practice of Japa is practiced in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Japa means to utter in a low voice.
The method of mantra recitation has been persistent since the early Vedic times. It requires chanting the same Mantra, which could be a single word (e.g., Om) or a string of mantric sounds (e.g., Om Namah Shivaya).
The practice of Mantra chanting or Japa creates beneficial mental pathways, assisting us in gradually connecting with our spiritual energy. It is a strong technique for focusing the mind and harnessing the subtle powers of the body/mind completing the yogic path of self-transformation.
The yogic way is driven by meditation and dispassion. It is worth mentioning that the Sanskrit name for the practice, abhyasa, means "repetition." We develop either positive or negative habit patterns through repetition.
Japa meditation can be performed while sitting as well as while working too. It doesn't require a fixed posture, unlike other forms of meditation
How is Japa meditation practiced?
Japa mindfulness is the practice of using a mala bead to chant a mantra or a prayer aloud. This type of meditation is often used in yoga and other Buddhist spiritual traditions. There are no such strict limitations; it can be performed while seated, walking, or working.
It is essential to chant or hum the Mantra repeatedly. The key element of the meditation is to repeat the Mantra silently or aloud. It can be repeated as slowly or quickly as necessary to keep one's mind focused. It is generally performed with eyes closed.
The Mantra, or the word being chanted utterly, depends on the individual. It can either be a one-word syllable, a longer prayer, or even a sacred phrase that keeps you uplifted.
Different types of Japa meditation
Japa meditation is practiced by counting the strings of beads known as Japa mala. It is associated with the chanting of the Mantra, which is performed in varying degrees of loudness.
In this form of Japa meditation, the Mantra is repeated aloud enough that nearby people can hear it recited. It may be handy when other sounds are nearby or when concentration is difficult and is thus best suited for novices.
In this form of Japa meditation, the Mantra is whispered or spoken quietly. The practitioner's lips are barely moved, making it difficult for the observer to see anything being said. It is often considered more effective than Vaikhari Japa.
In this form of Japa meditation, the Mantra is recited in mind. It is thus considered to be most effective and tougher than the others. It is considered to be nearly impossible to perform for those who aren't already grounded with the Vaikhari Japa.
In this form of Japa meditation, the practitioner writes down a mantra while chanting it aloud. It is considered far more effective than the other meditation forms as it focuses solely on the Mantra. Likhita Japa is often written in books intended for mantras. The books are made of small rectangular grids for different instances of mantras.
"I am that I am. The universe exists in me as much as I exist in the universe".
What is a Mantra?
Understanding Mantra and what it means can be tricky for the novices in the world of meditation. Mantra means a 'mind tool' derived from the two Sanskrit words- manas(mind) and tra (tool/instrument).
It is a sacred utterance of sound vibration. We can transport the mind from a set of activities to stillness and a state of deep meditation.
Mantras can be as basic as a one-syllable Sanskrit term such as 'Om' or 'AUM.’ They can even be longer prayers or affirmations depending on the intention behind the Mantra. Mantras are essentially musical melodies or words having spiritual significance. They are frequently uplifting spiritually or musically.
Mantras can serve as a centric device during meditation. It leads you to a much deeper understanding of yourself while encountering new layers of your mind. It collects the distracting elements from our mind and provides a resting place for the chaotic mind.
'AUM,' commonly spelled as 'Om,' is one of the most universally recited mantras. It is the sound of the universe's creation and is believed to have every vibration that has ever existed
****Let’s dig a little deeper into deciding on our daily Monday mantra.
How to pick your Mantra?
When picking a mantra, you should consider the secular or spiritual approach you want in your meditation practice. If ancient or pali words aren't your thing, you can always go for positive affirmations instead.
Nowadays, the Mantra is often used outside the yogic context. It means a phrase that repeats or chants to bring yourself to peace, relief, or a state of happiness.
Mantra is something that keeps you mentally steady and prevents your mind from the hustle-bustle of the world.
Suppose you choose a mantra in your meditation for your mental health, wellness, or personal growth. In that case, you can pick the 'Nirguna mantra' or a daily affirmation.
And suppose you are choosing a mantra for your spiritual growth or connecting with your transcendental energy. In that case, you can pick the Sanskrit mantras or the beej mantra .
Five most common Sanskrit Mantra
The universal sound, the essence of consciousness
I am that, all creation
Om Namah Shivaya
Hari Om Tat Sat
The seen and unseen are both ones
I am true, /truth is my essence
But if you are a novice in the world of meditation, then Sanskrit mantras can be intimidating for you. Since Japa meditation is about repeating a mantra or a phrase, you can always choose affirmations over the traditional Mantra.
Here are some positive affirmations to start your day with
I am calm; I am centered; I am in control.
I will not let my worry control me.
I am loved and grateful.
I am worthy of what I do and speak.
I am valued and loved.
It's okay if it doesn't go my way.
I am allowed to put myself first; I am not selfish.
I am not responsible for your reaction to my boundaries.
I am safe; I am secure.
I release all my shame that I am holding on to my body.
I love my body and what it does for me.
Suggested read: 5 Sacred Mantras to Jump-Start Your Japa Meditation Practice
What are Mala Beads?
You have probably seen your yoga gurus and meditation friends wearing tassel necklaces and wondered what mala beads are? In Japa meditation, a mala is a simple string of beads to count mantras, prayers, or intentions. Malas can also be used to count breaths or to partake in a healing meditation.
Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning "garland." Malas are a kind of meditation or prayer beads that have been around for a long time. These were designed to keep the mind in focus and clear from worldly distractions.
Mala beads usually contain 108 beads with one guru or Meru bead. But it can also be a strung half mala with 54 beads worn around the neck or a wrist mala containing 27 beads.
Usually, the guru (teacher) or meru (mountain) bead is larger than the other mala beads. It serves as a starting and stopping point for counting the mantra repetitions. A tassel is often added to the end of the guru/Meru bead.
Japa mala is often made out of different materials; depending on the material used, the properties of the beads will have certain energies. It is made with rosemary, precious gemstones, or even seeds. Different regions practice and use different kinds of mala.
Japa mala or mala beads contain 108 beads, as the number 108 has a powerful spiritual significance. The Sanskrit alphabet has 108 letters. According to the Vedic mathematician, the distance between the sun and the earth is 108th times the sun's diameter
How to Use A Mala Bead?
Japa meditation with mala is a practice of touching the moment. It is a cycle where we release and grasp the need to know how far we have come or have yet to go. This cycle has no definite end.
We simply touch the bead, noticing the quality of our touch, the feeling, or the present breath. We are feeling the moment again and again.
The unique properties of Mala beads are used in Japa meditation to help focus our minds and breathe as we move through the process.
It is worn either around the neck or wrist while meditating to receive healing and spiritual energies. The act of rolling the beads between the fingers is a physical reminder of your intentions while chanting.
The use of spiritual tools or mala beads is virtually performed in every culture or religious practice. But there are specific techniques of using a mala bead for yogic meditation and spiritual activations.
Here are some basic guidelines on how to use a mala bead for beginners-
First, choose a spot and sit comfortably with your spine straight and your eyes closed.
Take a deep breath and align yourself with the intentions.
Pick your Mantra and chant it aloud or silently.
Hold your mala in your right hand and drape it between your index and middle fingers.
Use your thumb to start with the guru bead and count each smaller bead, pulling it towards you as you recite your Mantra.
Continue to do it 108 times till you reach your guru bead again.
Instead of passing over the guru beads, simply reverse the direction and continue with the meditation.
When comfortable with the meditation process, try inhaling and exhaling deep breaths with each passing Mantra.
How to set your Sankalpa
"Sankalpa is the root intention for the practice, teaching, and life."
Sankalpa is the crown of intention-setting. The clarity is born of deep self-inquiry and intentions. It orients us toward the purpose and potential we seek to create within ourselves and our lives.
Sankalpa is a calling to the highest remembrance of oneself and the solid ground from which we fly. It provides the necessary foundation for meditation and the embodiment of practice in one's life.
With true Sankalpa, the divine energies of creative impulsiveness, knowledge, and skills are naturally aligned to meet with our most heartfelt desire or intention.
How to set your intention or Sankalpa
To create your Sankalpa, you need to be completely in alignment with yourself. And then be aware of your truest self.
You need to be clear about a situation where you are happy and describe yourself in the present time.
You can only describe yourself and the changes in your life that you seek.
You need to think and describe yourself about what makes you happy and imagine that you have it.
Do not use the words, not', 'can't, 'never," etc.
Direct your energy to where and what you want instead of what you don't.
Sankalpa is the key to the doorway of the portal of awakening.
The dos and don'ts of Japa meditation
Traditional rules and customs can be seen impractical over time when applied to a different culture. Like any other spiritual or cultural practice, you should know the rules that your goals or intentions resonate most with.
You should be mindful of what and why you are doing it or not doing it. Any practitioner needs to know the rules of Japa meditation before breaking or disrespecting them during the process.
Here are some do's and don't of Japa meditation listed below-
Always keep your mala in a clean place, preferably in a mala bag.
Always touch the guru bead on your bowed forehead before wearing the mala.
Never let anyone else touch or wear your mala.
Remember to remove your mala while defecating, sleeping, or during intercourse.
Keep your mala beads clean and well maintained. If there's a broken or scratch in your beads, then repair it.
The most favorable time to perform Japa meditation is Brahma Muhurta, i.e., one and a half hours before sunrise.
The second and third best time to practice Japa meditation is at noon and after sunset.
Washing your hands and feet or taking a bath before practicing Japa meditation is mandatory.
While practicing Japa meditation, facing north or east is prioritized as it is considered the abode of gods.
Have a safe and clean seat to perform Japa meditation.
Practice your meditation at the same place every day.
Do not hold your mala below your naval.
Use the thumb and middle finger of your right hand to move the beads of your mala.
Pronounce your Mantra or affirmation distinctly and clearly.
While performing Japa meditation, the eyes should be closed completely.
You should complete a round of 108 times counting the beads.
Suggested read: Japa Meditation: Do's And Don'ts
****Let’s explore the panorama of practicing Japa at work and in life
Benefits of practicing Japa meditation
If you struggle to focus while meditating, then mantra meditation or Japa meditation is your friend. Practicing meditation daily in life is the best way to keep track of your mental health and overall wellness.
The key to cure humanity and rise above the superficial toxicity lies in meditation.
Since many struggles to achieve or focus on their chakra, mantra meditation is the key. Like any other meditation, mantra meditation or Japa meditation too comes with a unique bunch of benefits.
In addition to the health benefits, Japa meditation comes with the properties and energy of the Mantra. It also comes with the healing and transformative powers of mala beads.
Regular practice of Japa meditation can lead to so many positive changes like the few listed below-
It helps in reducing stress, anxiety and calms the mind.
It Improves the sleep cycle.
It improves the concentration level.
It helps indigestion.
It helps to cultivate positive thoughts and approaches to life.
It reduces negative energy and vibes from your life.
It helps to build a better relationship.
It increases your creativity.
It increases strength, resilience, and patience level.
Are yoga and Japa meditation the same?
Both yoga and meditation needs you to be aware of your body and mind. They both aim for a healthier perspective of life, yet they are not the same.
Meditation is more of a workout for your mind, while yoga is mostly physical. Japa meditation or mantra meditation is the repetition of a mantra while meditating.
It brings your mind to one focal point and doesn't require any fixed sitting posture. It is more flexible.
But yoga, on the other hand, is more of a physical exercise that requires different kinds of postures or asanas.
Mantra chanting is not mandatory in yoga.
Meditation is a part of yoga that mostly focuses on breath and mental focus.
**Let’s dig more into Japa and how we can practice it even while at work.
Can we practice Japa while working?
Since Japa meditation is not about physical exercise but mental stimulation and alignment, it can be performed while working or walking.
We can practice Japa meditation at our workplace if we have the right intention and Mantra ready. All we need are the mala beads and space to focus our minds.
Workplace wellness today includes adverse mental health programs and meditation centers. We can easily partake in a quick refreshing mantra session.
It helps us break away from the humdrum of work-life and escape in our spiritual world with the right environment and tools.
Suggested read: 8 Fantastic Benefits Of Introducing Meditation At Work
Tips on How to create a Japa meditation space at the workplace
Working around the clock and managing modern life can be stressful. The daily distractions like social media, texting, emails, and news can mess up your mental health. Due to the extreme stress load, we often forget to pause and take a deep breath.
But studies now have shown that meditation can be an effective solution to stress and simultaneously maintain a healthy work-life balance. Practicing meditation while on the job helps to reduce stress and relaxes your mind. It increases more focus and attention at work and enhances our connection with others.
However, it can be challenging to stay grounded and manage work in this fast-paced business world. The desire to reduce stress, improve well-being is more than the desire to meditate at work.
Here are some tips on creating or practicing Japa meditation at work-
Take a break
Pause and take five minutes to break from work.It is a common misconception that to meditate; you need a longer break or time. But it is not true. You can meditate anytime and anywhere. All you need is a break from the monotony.
Take deep breaths
You need to associate yourself with meditative techniques like finding your mantra and mala beads. Whenever you face a challenge or stressful situation at work, you need to pause and align yourself with your Sankalpa.
Consistency is the key
When chanting or repeating a mantra while meditating, it is essential to maintain the flow. You can close your eyes and practice meditation in silence, or you can even listen to affirmations or mantra recordings. Only with regular exercise can we improve our energy and attention at work.
Discover your space
Finding the right space or place to meditate is very important. You can either use your office couch or even the conference room for more privacy to meditate. Getting a comfortable space helps to count the mala beads.
Suggested read: Vantage Fit-Corporate Wellness Blog
Summing it up
Practicing meditation every day can drastically improve our lives. Japa meditation is nothing but the art of manifestation or the act of attracting things that you want in your life.
Practicing this meditation for at least 10 minutes every day can bring many positive changes in your day-to-day life. We brainwash our minds to think the things that we want are ours. We train ourselves to focus on the positive things and be more kind to ourselves when we are out of balance.
Thus, to sum it up, we can simply say that Japa meditation is the practice of accessing an embodied experience. It is the art of letting go of everything you're not, so you can realize everything you are.
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