Ajapa Japa – Stage 1

The following technique is stage 1 and should be practised every day until mastered, before proceeding to the next stage.

Technique

Sit in a comfortable position.

Close your eyes and relax the whole body.

Hold the spine upright, but without excessive strain.

Tell yourself that for the duration of the practice all problems and worries will be discarded; all attention will be on the practice of ajapa japa.

When you are ready start the practice.

Firstly do ujjayi pranavama and khechari mudra.

Become aware of your breathing process.

As you breathe in, know that you are breathing in.

As you are breathing out, know that you are breathing out.

Be totally attentive to every incoming and outgoing breath; feel the rhythm of the flow.

Carry on in this manner for a few minutes.

Then imagine that the breath is flowing between the navel and the front of the throat.

On inhalation, the breath rises from the navel to the throat.

On exhalation, the breath descends from the throat to the navel.

At first, you may find this process difficult to imagine, don’t worry, only try; the important thing is to be completely aware of the breath.

Let the breathing become rhythmical, deep and long, but without force; the more you relax, the more the breath will automatically become slow and deep.

Continue in this manner for at least 5 minutes.

Maintain awareness.

If the mind wanders, which it surely will, don’t fight it, but simultaneously try to maintain the breath awareness; this is not easy but you must try.

Then you must merge and synchronize the mantra Soham with the up and down movement of breath in the throat and navel passage.

You must be simultaneously aware of both the rising and descending breath and the sound Soham produced at the throat.

The mantra and the breath must be synchronized so that: So sounds with the upward moving inhalation, from the navel to the throat.

Ham sounds with the downward moving exhalation, from the throat to the navel.

There should be unceasing awareness of Soham as you breathe in and out from the navel to the throat.

If your mind wanders let it, but know that it is wandering and try to maintain mantra and breath awareness.

Continue in this manner to the end of the time that you have assigned for the practice.

Awareness

The essence of ajapa, like all other meditative techniques, is continual attentiveness to the practice being performed. There is no need to suppress the fluctuations and distractions of the mind, but you should try to simultaneously maintain awareness of the breath and mantra. Let the mind roam; all you have to do is to remain aware.

Benefits

Ajapa gives the benefits of all other meditative practices. The benefits that you actually reap will depend entirely on your effort, regularity of practice and the degree to which your mind is now harmonized.

It is an excellent and essential preparation for kriya yoga, brings mental peace and one-pointedness of mind and leads directly to meditation.

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