By Lajja (Ellen) Mitchell
Strike that title! Instead, make it, “How Japa Continues to Change My Life!”
I am not sure when I started repeating mantra regularly. It might have been after my first meditation course in 2012. I certainly focused more on it in during my trip to India in 2013. My first Seva after returning was to be on a team for our community-wide Japathon, a phone event where we all repeated mantra aloud together. In a multitude of ways, 2013 was the year of japa for Svaroopa® yoga and for me. I read all the contemplation articles. Frequenting our svaroopa.org website, I listened to Freebie audio recordings on anything japa. I bought my first mala. And every time I saw Swami that year, I heard her said, “Do more japa!”
I know from experience that japa helps to quiet my mind. In addition, japa is the vehicle to help bring me into meditation; japa is portable and I can do it anywhere. I say japa when I am happy or sad, when I am in a state of fear or love, whether my life is up or down. Japa can level-set me and take me back to a more centered space. I also say japa right before bed. What better way to quiet the mind at the end of the day? Many times, I dedicate this practice to someone else that I know may need some prayers.
Recently, while waiting for a meeting to start, I started saying japa to fill the time. Japa took me to a deep, calming place. My mind was quiet. It was meditative. I almost forgot there was a meeting to be held.
I now think that I live more in the pause and less in the reaction. I firmly believe that, as one of my yoga practices, japa has helped me to get to this place within. So that is why I say, “My japa practice continues to change my life!”