Japa is a beautiful art of repeating sacred sounds (mantras). It starts by vocalizing the sounds out loud, then whispering them, then silently ‘hearing’ them in your mind. Running your fingers over beads or a stone give it a tactile sensation that keeps the mind and body connected.
The sounds come from ancient traditions rooted in India – Vedic rituals, tantra, & the bhakti movement. The Vedic way is outward-looking, masculine, transcendent, goes beyond ego, looks to the heavens and the planets. The tantric way is inward-looking, roots down into the body, explores physical sensations/ chakras and honors the Divine feminine. The bhakti way is emotional and all about sustaining a relationship with the divine/ God/ Self through our own heart’s intelligence.
Some of the benefits I’ve been feeling from doing japa are:
Relaxation…anxiety disappears! This is for two reasons- 1) japa acts as a gentle tonic for the vagus nerve and this has been found to relax brain activity. 2) japa prolongs the exhale breath and this has been linked with parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) so it is very relaxing.
Japa is a recharge from being plugged in all the time. Health professionals agree that being plugged in and bombarded with information all day isn’t good for us. Chanting is a way to unplug and charge ourselves up organically with fresh prana, that rich sustainable life force.
Mostly, it’s a meditation that works!
Thanks for reading😊