When I first learned Atma Kriya Yoga, I spent many hours a day in a seated Atma Kriya Yoga practice, but I did my Japa on the move, mala bag attached to hand. It was rare that I would sit and just do Japa. When I was walking, on public transport, and even once as I talked my students through their savasana relaxation, I did Japa. It was a method of integrating AKY throughout the whole day.
Once I became a mother, using my mala was no longer possible as I was constantly holding my baby, changing him, or doing something with both my hands. I started to do Japa without the beads, relying on my breath to guide me. Now that baby is six-years-old and his younger brother is four and the ability to use my mala beads or counter has not returned. The majority of my day involves tasks that I need to use both hands for.
It is definitely more difficult to maintain focus on Japa without the aid of a mala or a counter, but there are a few things that help.
Japa While You Exercise
First thing every morning, I do Japa during my yoga practice before the kids wake up. The movement combined with the breath make the Japa almost effortless. These are some of my best Japa moments. Making Japa the first thing I do when waking has the added benefit of setting the day with a positive intention.
Dedicate Your Japa to Someone
This is something I only started recently and what a blessing it has been! By making someone else, someone who may need some kindness or prayers, the priority in my practice has helped me do it more often. It has helped me see the importance of Japa and to do it with sincerity and love.
Sitting down to do Japa for 10-20 minutes a day
Again this is something I just started recently. We are several weeks into coronavirus lockdown. I am homeschooling the kids and working out how to balance all the other duties I had to do when they are usually in school. Around lunchtime, I need some time alone so once I’ve served the meal, I leave my husband in charge while I sit in my room and do Japa. I can still hear everything that is going on in the house and the kids still run to where I am and sit on my lap but it has been divine. I completely underestimated how incredible sitting down to do Japa is.
Having some still Japa time, even if everything else seems chaotic, changes the shape of the day for the better.
Whether it's doing Japa while you exercise or you dedicate a few minutes each day to sitting for your Japa, I encourage you to find ways of going into your Japa and filling your day with it. Let us know what you find by posting a picture on Instagram and tagging @bhaktimargasadhana and using #bhaktimargasadhana.
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