(SO-HAM meditation)


Ajapa Japa Dhyana(So-Ham meditation)

Ajapa japa Dhyana, is a meditation on spontaneous repetition of a mantra.

Like we already know, concentration is a very important if not the most important practice to help us reach meditation. Ajapa Japa is, in this sense, a very simple and effective practice to reach this goal. To be able to concentrate the mind we need an object on which we bring our attention on. Ajapa japa use many different objects for this purpose.

Japa mean repetition of a mantra. When the suffix “a” is added to “japa” it mean that the repetition of the mantra become spontaneous. The Yogis have discover that our breath was having a particular sound, while breathing in the sound created was like the sound “SO” and while breathing out the sound created was like “HAM”. So they realise that we are unconsciously repeating the mantra “SO-HAM” all day long.

With Ajapa japa practice we’ll be consciously repeating the mantra So-Ham using the breath and the sound to focus our mind. A third factor will be use to increase our focus and this will be according to the movement of the breath and energy in the body.

There is an important psychic pathway in the body its name is shushumna. It is  where we want our energy to flow freely and harmoniously . This pathway begin at mooladhara chakra (perineum for man and cervix for women) and end up at ajna chakra (pineal gland). With this practice will be visualizing the energy moving up from mooladhara  to ajna and down from ajna to mooladhara.

The breath, the sound, and the movement will be the anchor for the focus of our mind. Unnecessary to say that it is enough to keep our mind out of the usual daydreaming mode!

Another important aspect of the practice is the purging of the mind. During the practice we’ll be doing SO-HAM for a while then we’ll stop this practice and allow our mind to evacuate or to express it unconscious content by focusing  on the dark space at the for head area call “chiddhakasha”. Like looking at a movie screen we'll let our mind play its deepest and far rooted memories film. Taking a witness attitude, we’ll learn about our unconscious self and its surprising content.

Those deep rooted memories have significant influences on our behaviour andour way of thinking and deeling with our environment. By allowing them to surface and acknowledging there presence we take a step to understand our self and subsequently to modify our own attitude, pattern and behaviour.

The Practice.
Stage one:
Sit comfortably, take off your watch and glasses, turn off your cell phone. Make sure that nothing can disturb you practice. Your hands are on your knees with Chin, Gyan or Bhairava mudra. Your spine is straight the shoulder slightly back and relax the head is straight and chin slightly in. Adopt ujjayi breathing (restriction of glottis) and if you feel comfortable adopt ketchari mudra (tongue fold tip on soft palate).

Stage two:
Before starting Ajapa Japa Dhyana do a short kaya sthairyam (body stillness) practice, Be aware of your body posture, make sure your body is still, relax and grounded. Then move your awareness to the body sensation from toes to head. Make sure that you are now still, steady  and comfortable. Then move your awareness to the outside sounds, move from one sound to the other without trying to identify the sounds but just by observing the different sounds. Move from the furthest to the closest sound.

Stage three:
Then bring your attention to the breath. Feel your breath in and out of the nostrils, feel the cool air in and the warm air out. Stay focus on your breath for a while, you can even feel the hair of you nostrils moving with the breath. Then slowly increase the depth of you breath, make it become deep and slow.

Stage four
Beginner stage
Imagine the breath in moving from the navel to the throat and the breath out moving from the throat to the navel.

Advance stage
Feel the energy moving from mooladhara chakra to vishuddhi ksetram(passing all other ksetram on the way) to bindu with the breath in and down from bindu to ajna chakra down to mooladhara chakra (passing all the other chakra on the way) with the breath out.

Stage five
Add the sound “SO” to your awareness while the breath is in, and “HAM” when the breath is going out.

Continue this practices of SO-HAM keeping ujjayi, ketchari and awareness on the movement, breath and sound. Be completely focus on those object. Become the breath, the sound and the movement.

Stage six

After about 5 to 10 minutes stop the practice, breath normally and focus on chiddhakasha, the screen in the dark space at the forehead area. Keep focus, let the mind shows its content, don’t censure any thought or feeling. Allow anything to surface be attentive take a witness attitude. Don’t get emotionally involve into what you are seeing or feeling let it be. If you feel to cry you cry, but you cry with a witness attitude. It is a time of purging, your mind has deep rooted memories and it is a perfect time to allow them to surface and show themselves to you. They are part of you and you need to acknowledge them. Now you see them with different eyes and it is time to redigest them with awareness and compassion to you and other.

Stage seven
Then go back to SO-HAM practice for another 5 to 10 minutes, then again take time for chiddhakasha dharana. And continue this sequence as long as you feel comfortable

Stage eight
Then you stop SO-HAM practice, focus again on the breath, again become aware of the breath in and out of the nostrils.Then become aware of the outside sounds, then bbring your awareness on your body sitting in the studio or your room. Fell comfort and at be at peace with yourself and surrounding. Keep the feeling of Joy, Harmony, Happiness, Love and Peace with you and spread it to everyone you’ll meet.

End up the practice by chanting Om three times, do palming one time and open your eyes slowly when you feel ready.