AJAPA JAPA - with nine stages

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This practice I'm sharing here called Ajapa Japa, is a nine step Meditation practice Sadhana giveaway from the Yogic tradition and has infinite potential. Enjoy


Stage 1
Om Chanting
Now before you start, you need to fully acquaint yourself with the position/location in the body of the six major Chakras from Mooladhara up to Ajna Chakra and the psychic passageway that connects them Sushumna Nadi.

Chakra Locations
Mooladhara Chakra for females is located roughly near the posterior wall of the cervix, Swadhisthana Chakra is located just above the coccyx bone (tailbone) in the sacrum, Manipura Chakra is located in the spinal cord directly behind the navel, Anahata Chakra is located in the spinal cord directly behind the chest region of the sternum or the intersection of both nipples in the centre of the chest, Vishuddi Chakra is located in the spinal cord directly behind the region of the pit of the throat at the base of the neck and Ajna Chakra is located at the top of the spinal cord in the centre of the brain, (in the region of the Pineal Gland). For Ajna Chakra imagine intersecting a horizontal line at the top of both ears then another line going backwards from the eyebrow centre to the center of the brain.

Sushumna Nadi Location
Now imagine the Sushumna Nadi which connects the Chakras running from Mooladhara Chakra up to Ajna Chakra. You can imagine that it follows the natural curves of the spinal column if you like, or you can imagine that it is a vertical transparent column. As time goes bye you will feel this location easily.

Now please close you eyes and sit comfortably in your meditation asana (Siddha Yoni Asana) whilst holding you mala in your right hand, with your fingers holding the mala so that when you begin the rotation of the mala from the sumeru bead you rotate it towards you. This will move the first marker of cotton which you positioned after the 11th bead. Now begin to focus on your breathing which should be through your nose. Make sure it is relaxed and when you breath in feel the gentle expansion of the abdomen followed by the expansion of the chest, and on the exhalation you feel first the relaxation of the chest region followed by the abdomen. Now when the breath becomes relaxed and you feel ready to start exhale and take your awareness to Mooladhara Chakra region then begin to take a nice full but relaxed inhalation and whilst inhaling move your awareness up Sushumna to Ajna Chakra, so that when you feel your inhalation is finished your awareness arrives at Ajna Chakra.

Now pause for a second and then you commence your exhalation, but also you now verbally begin to chant the mantra OMmmm whilst your breath is descending back down to Mooladhara. It does not need to be super loud, but a nice volume so simultaneously on the exhalation you start the Mantra Chant with OOOOO going from Ajna and feel the sound vibrating down from Ajna on the exhalation down to say the region of between Anahata and Manipur then you continue down with the last part of the Mantra MMMmmmmmmmmmmmm down into Mooladhara Chakra. So your awareness begins to travel with the sound vibration and the breath from Ajna and down to Mooladhara. After completing your exhalation and the mantra repetition say mentally to yourself change (this is the mental reminder) then rotate the mala one bead having finished the first round of the Om Chanting. Now commence the second inhaling up to Ajna then continue OMmmmm chanting down to Mooladhara on the exhalation. This should be relaxed no tension, be one with the breath and mantra consciousness.

When you get to the piece of cotton marker you have finished the Om Chanting (11 rounds) part of the practice, then we move to the next section after learning Psychic Breathing (Ujjayi which is an important pranayama)

Stage 2
Air (Ujjayi - Psychic Breathing)

Now you have to learn Ujjayi or Psychic Breathing and Kechari Mudra which is the tongue lock. Sit in your Asana with eyes closed then commence to focus on your relaxed breathing in and out. Feel the gentle expansion on the inhalation of the abdomen, the chest (the rib cage expansion), and the rising of the upper part of the chest slightly. Then on the exhalation feel the upper part of the chest slightly descend followed by the rib cage contract slightly inwards followed by the abdomen. It should be totally relaxed. Do this for a couple of minutes, relaxing totally and becoming aware of the breath. Now turn your attention and awareness to feel the breath as you inhale moving through the nostrils down the back of the throat region towards the lungs, and on the exhalation feel the relaxed breath moving up the back of the throat towards the nostrils. Keep doing this for a minute to so, then continue and move your focus to the pit of the throat but inside the throat region.

Feel the gentle breath in this region moving but keep your awareness only on this area in the throat. Now begin to also focus on the sound of this relaxed breath as it moved gently in this region. When you begin with this practice of Ujjayi, you can put a bit of your saliva of a finger then place the moist finger at the base of the throat or pit of the throat to help you in holding your attention in the right spot. It might help to also image that you are making a very slight muscular contraction in this region of the throat, the effect being that you hear a slight sound with the breath which some people say is like the sound of a baby snoring). The sound is subtle, just barely audible, but you should hear it.

Now you have to learn Kechari Mudra, a very important Mudra which is sometimes called the tongue lock. Kechari Mudra is to be done like this, whilst the mouth is closed invert the tongue and curl the underneath surface of the tongue so that it is placed gently on the soft palate region on the roof of the mouth. The tip of the tongue goes back a bit, but you should not strain. This takes some practice but you should not strain whilst learning it. Just rest the tongue against the soft palate. This is the form of Kechari Mudra which is used in Raja Yoga and Kriya Yoga. In the Hatha Yoga version some yogis cut the frenulum beneath the tongue, but this is not allowed with Kriya Yoga or Raja Yoga.

When you feel confident that you are ready to proceed with Ujjayi, commence breathing with Ujjayi with Kechari Mudra, but this time you are going to move your awareness up and down Sushumna Nadi from Mooladhara Chakra to Ajna and back down to Mooladhara with Uyyayi. So stage 2 of Ajapa Japa is bring your awareness to Mooladhara Chakra and with Ujjayi breath, breath in (totally relaxed) and let your awareness travel or follow the breath up to Ajna Chakra, then relax for a second then commence the exhalation breathing out with Ujjayi sending your awareness down to Mooladhara. Pause for a second at Mooladhara mentally say change, then rotate the mala one bead. Now commence the next round breathing in up to Ajna then breathing down to Mooladhara in Ujjayi. Remember say mentally to yourself after you arrive at Mooladhara, Change then rotate the mala 1 bead signifying finished the preceding round, then commence the next round.
So after you have initially learnt this practice this section of Ajapa Japa goes from the 1st cotton marker to the second marker continuing for 22 rounds.

Find a nice comfortable pace, not to fast, totally relaxed breath with no physical or mental tension.

Stage 3
So Ham (pronounced So Hum – as in the word humming)

So Ham is the universal mantra of the breath which anyone can use, it is mentioned in the Upanishads and is held in high regard, just like the mantra OM.

This practice is also done with Ujjayi – Commence Ujjayi pranayama (also use Kechari Mudra), the tongue lock throughout) then breath out exhaling bring your attention to Mooladhara Chakra and mentally repeat the mantra Mooladhara, Mooladhara, Mooladhara (that’s 3 times) then commence your inhalation in Ujjayi breathing up to Ajna. When you come to Ajna don’t mentally rerpeat it but try to feel the location. Another way to imagine your awareness ascending and descending is to imagine a transparent cylinder, and you are drawing water up and down the cylinder or you could imagine a train moving along a railway track and going through stations but not stopping there, just enjoying the scenery until you get to the final destination station.

So after a minute or so of breathing like this on the inhalation after the 3 mooladhara mental repititions mentally chant a long mantra SO from Mooladhara to Ajna Chakra, Then on the exhalation you mentally chant a long HUM down to Mooladhara Chakra.

When you arrive at Mooladhara and finished the mental repetition of HUM, say to yourself mentally change then rotate the mala one bead then mentally say the mantra Mooladhara 3 times, then commence the inhalation with the mental repitation of the mantra SO up to Ajna. Then feel it, then commence the exhalation down to Mooladhara with the mantra HUM, then say change mentally, rotate the mala one bead, then continue.

Do 22 rounds.

Stage 4
Ham So (pronounced Hum So)

Now the mantra is reversed, from So Ham to Ham So like this. After you have finished the 22 rounds of So Hum bring your awareness immediately up to Ajna Chakra, now exhale with Ujjayi (also use Kechari Mudra), down to Mooladhara simultaneously repeating the manta Ham whilst you descent down Sushumna Nadi. When you reach Mooladhara mentally repeat Mooladhara once only, then inhale with Ujjayi mentally repeating the mantra So whilst ascending up Sushumna Nadi to Ajna. Then when you arrive at Ajna Chakra mentally repeat the mantra Ajna, Ajna, Ajna 3 times. Now mentally say change and rotate the mala one bead signifying the completion of one round. Then continue like this for 22 rounds.

• Now when you finish Ham So and have reached the cotton marker drop your mala from your hand as the following practices stages 6 -9 of Ajapa Japa are done without the mala.

Stage 5
Shakti Chalini

Now for this practice you have to learn another Bandha (you have previously learned Mooladhara Bandha the perinneal lock) called Jalandhara Bandha which is the throat lock before we proceed with Shakti Chalini. Jalandhara Bandha (which is practiced without Kechari Mudra and Uyyayi) is done like this with eyes closed. Inhale through the nose and when you have filled up the lungs gently lower the head bringing the chin towards the chest. Now lean forward slightly, straightening both arms (the hands should be on the knees palms facing down in Gyana Mudra) and hold the breath in.

Whilst holding the breath in (this needs training / breath retention – we will work on this later with Nadi Shodhan Pranayama which is also called Alternate Nostril breathing) do Moola bandha. So you will be doing the Jalandhara Bandha (chin lock) and the Moola Bandha (the perinneal lock which we taught in the previous lesson) with internal breath retention. Don’t strain with either of the Bandhas or with holding the breath.

Now whilst holding the breath begin to mentally move your awareness from Mooladhara up to Ajna, back down to Mooladhara, then beck up to Ajna and continue ascending and descending a few times with your awareness until you are ready to exhale (do not strain holding the breath).

Then when you are ready to exhale bend the elbows slightly, then raise the head and the chin from the chest so that the head is upright then just relax totally on the exhalation letting go totally mentally and physically.

Now let the breath come back to normal, and don’t start another round until the breathing rate is totally relaxed.

When you are ready to continue commence the 2nd round in the same way.

Do 5 rounds only.

Stage 6
Balanced Breath

Now in this stage here you use Ujjayi pranayama (you can use Kechari Mudra as well if you wish, as long as there is no strain), but it is done more subtley, it is so quiet a person beside you could not hear you breathing but you could hear yourself breathing ever so gently. The difference with this form of Ujjayi is that with the proceeding forms of Ujjayi used in stages 2,3, and 4 that practice is louder and a person sitting beside could hear you breathing, but in this practice they could not. It is very quiet and ever so relaxed and subtle.

Start breathing up and down Sushumna Nadi with an ultra - totally relaxed Ujjayi breath, with no mental repititions of mantras at the chakras. Just feel the channel of Sushumna Nadi and the slow breathing going up and down from Mooladhara up to Ajna, then down to Mooladhara. Thr breath should be so relaxed if you placed your hand under your nostrils the breath would not be moving much in or out just relaxed.

• Do this for a little while until your feel or perceive a change in your awareness. Maybe you will feel like a little jerk signalling time to go into a deeper state of the meditation.

Stage 7
Flower Meditation

When you feel a subtle change or after a little while forget the breath awareness and commence stage 7 by trying to visualise a flower. Any flower that you might like, and any colour that you like. Visualise a flower rising and descending through the Chakras. Try to feel the soft gentle touch of the flower as it moves through the chakras.

Do this for some time then go to the next stage 8.

Stage 8
Inner Space (Chidakash)

Now just focus your relaxed inner gaze and awareness in the space behind the closed eyes which is known as the Chidakash, the mind space.

Just relax and look within the space, look into its vastness and feel the expansiveness of the Chidakash which might look 3 dimensional or like looking out into space. You might see like stars twinkling or other things. It is not important what you see, just feel the vastness within and the tranquillity in you.

Stage 9
Psychic Symbol

Now try to visualise your psychic symbol, which you have chosen for yourself. The physic symbol for this meditation and for Japa should (Guru Mantra) not change. You can visualise other symbols in other practices but in this practice and in japa the image should be the same.

Now just try to hold the image within, it might move around or stay steady. It might move towards you and get bigger, just relax and look within into the symbol.

Then after some time when you are ready to end the practice externalise the senses, become aware of sounds in the room around you and outside far away, become aware of your physical body, the room your sitting in, and finally feel fully grounded to Mother Earth.

Swami Mounamurti

KRP The Brain