Japa is an exact science, but it is simple to practice. It is just a matter of repeating a mantra while maintaining an attentive awareness of its sound. Japa is not connected to Sanskrit and Hinduism only. Many spiritual traditions use the practice of repeating songs and prayers, such as the Hebrew Shalom, Aramaic Maranatha or Christian Ave Maria.
Japa is a Sanskrit word derived from the root jap, meaning "to repeat quietly and internally." Likewise, Japa yoga can be practiced verbally or mentally. Repeating the mantra out loud has the advantage of shutting out external wordly sounds. This is called vaikhari japa. The next stage, as the mind becomes more focused, is a whispering or humming repetition, called upamsu japa. Finally, the practitioner reaches silent mental repetition, or manasika japa. This is the most powerful form. Another type of japa is likhita japa, which is writing of the mantra.
When practicing Japa yoga, all the mantra repetitions are considered moments of connection with the true Self. When the mind adjusts to the vibration of a mantra, it awakens and becomes thoughtful. Practicing Japa yoga can also help improve concentration, problem solving and overall health.