What are the different ways to practice japa, and what effects do they have?
Types of Japa-: Primarily there are three methods of performing Japa: loudly, moving the lips, and completely inside in thought.
When someone is far away from you, you must call loudly so they will hear your voice. When someone is very near to you, you can look into their eyes and communicate the message without sound.
Loudly is good to learn pronunciation and pranayam. It can also help to lengthen your asana. Silently is good to perfect communion and go into meditation.
If a devotee is just beginning practices, how much japa should they start with?
There is no rule on how much with which to begin, but we will want to maintain consistency, so start with an amount that can be made to grow. My Guru told me to expand 5 minutes a month, so at the end of the first year, I was sitting for one hour. That was almost 50 years ago, so we have grown and expanded the asana and the Japa into a full-time, all-encompassing discipline.