Another way to practice japa meditation is with the physical aid of mala beads. The string of 108 beads is held in the right hand. Each bead is rolled with the thumb and a finger, one by one, as you repeat and focus on your mantra try it. Much the way a hymn or spiritual song seems to move or elevate the mind to a joyous plateau, so does chanting. Chanting is about contacting the subconscious mind. Nevertheless, in keeping with the yoga philosophy of doing what is comfortable, chant only if you wish to.
Connie Mazzell discovered chanting through Integral Yoga teachers training. “Annually we had three-day silent retreats. At the end of each day we chanted. It was the best part of the day for me. The unity in the room energized me in a way I had never experienced. Chanting, or Kirtans, is not about the voice or ability to carry a tune; it’s about allowing your energy to flow. People are inhibited about chanting; no one really wants to open their mouth and belt out a chant. I led a monthly chanting group in San Francisco and encouraged the use of small instruments little drums, bells, tambourines, maracas, which are typically used with chanting. People were as inhibited about picking up the instruments as they were about chanting. Once a few people grabbed an instrument, the rest of the group joined in. The energy in chanting is remarkable.”
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