I was given my first strand of Mala (meaning garland in Sanskrit) by a friend and I had no idea what they were for or the symbolism behind them, they were very plain, light brown dull wooden beads and I loved them.
Now I see mala’s everywhere, mostly not so plain. It seems mala beads are in fashion, and I wonder if people actually know what they are wearing, and if not, who cares?, they are pretty anyway.
But if you do care, perhaps it will make them even prettier.
Here’s a little background behind them.
Malas date back to an ancient Indian tradition thought to be around 800 BCE, yet malas are used in many different cultures now, for much the same reasons.
The practical side of the Mala is used much like a rosary. Each bead serves as an aid for counting a set of mantra (words or sounds) or prayer. It is used as a guide for the mind to focus and meditate on the words. When the mind can focus holding one bead and having one thought, it steadies, challenging the mind to calm the thoughts.
When I was researching how to make my mala, I came across some interesting details;
- Each mala has 108 beads and 1 more, a Guru (teacher) bead.
- 108 is a very important number is the Yogic philosophy. It is said to be the numerical equivalent to the Om vibration, you can fit 108 Earth’s in between the Earth and the Sun, and you can fit 108 Moon’s in between the Moon and the Earth.
- Malas can be made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads.
- Malas are traditionally made with Rudraksha beads, lotus seed beads, yak bone, Bodhi seeds, or wood, but these days are made from most types of beads.
- In other traditions they are called counting beads, prayer beads or thought beads.
How to use your Mala
Maybe you want to wear it as a pretty accessory, great! I use mine for 3 reasons. I have one I wear around my wrist as a constant reminder to stop and take a breath. I use another mala for meditation and I use my chakra mala necklace when I go to meetings and am a little nervous, and I feel as though it’s a reminder for me to keep balanced energies and to remember the peacefulness of previous meditations.
If you would like to use your mala for meditation, this could be one way to try;
- Choose your intention and shorten the phrase to one word or a few words. Allow these words to be set in the present moment and be positive.
- Find a comfortable position to sit.
- Start to listen to the natural breath and quietly bring your mind to your intention.
- Hang the first bead gently on the middle or ring finger of your right hand. Bring your thumb on the guru bead and begin mentally saying your intention (Mantra). Then move the mala bead with your thumb and mentally repeat your intention again. Continue until you get back to the Guru bead. Traditionally the mala is then turned around and the Mantra is continued until you get to the Guru bead again.
If you would like to find out about what different types of meditation there are, check out my previous blog here:
You can get your own Mala here:
If you would like to join me at a retreat, mindful meditation class, or become one of my private online Yoga members, please contact me on Victoria@victoriasplaceonline.com.au
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With love and light, Victoria
Here’s a link to my latest book release ‘Will You Come To Bed With Me? Creating Mindful Moments with Your Family.’ http://bit.ly/1NYUTcz