Mala beads have been used for meditation for centuries to hold your focus and to count while reciting mantras. Choosing mala mantras is sometimes confusing. Mala beads help with the practice of Japa, which is a Sanskrit term that means repetition of a mantra. The word or phrase itself is spoken softly, and sometimes it’s spoken only in the mind.
But there is no universally specific use for Mala beads. They can mean something different for each person. While some may use to as a meditation tool, others may use it to remember an intention, or just as a piece they draw inspiration and positivity from throughout the day.
The mala necklace is made of a string of prayer beads often with the traditional 108 beads. 108 beads can be divisible by that number such as 27 or 54 beads. The beads are strung on a durable bead cable, or nylon thread, with enough space to slide beads for counting or knots in-between. There is also a larger bead that is known as the ‘guru bead’ that has a tassel or pendant at the bottom. The tassel is considered a symbol of one thousand lotus petals.
Why Are There 108 Beads?
So why are there 108 beads specifically on a mala? In ancient Vedic tradition, 108 was the number of existences itself. This sacred number is seen all over Indian culture, from 108 sacred yogic texts to 108 sacred sites throughout the country, and 108 marma points (or sacred sites within the body). Highly attuned to the chakra system, the ancient Vedics also identified 108 lines of energy converging into the heart chakra. The Vedics calculated the Sun’s diameter to be precisely 108 times that of the Earth’s diameter. So, the next time you meditate with your 108 mala beads, keep in mind the universally sacred origins of this number, and allow that to infuse into the power of your mindful experience.
These traditional 108 bead malas are made using select natural gemstone materials, the sturdiest bead cord, a guru bead, and finished with a well-crafted tassel or pendant. These Mala Prayer Beads are also made with care and attention and are cleansed with Sage and infused with healing Reiki energy by a Usui Reiki Master.
Caring For Your Mala
Please be gentle with your Mala. Bathing, swimming, or partaking in any vigorous activity may lead to breakage or damage of your Mala. Please keep in mind that frequent stretching will weaken the thread over time and may damage your Mala.
Regular cleansing of your semiprecious stone Mala is recommended. Gemstones absorb negative energy and could also transmit the negativity back if they become saturated. To remove any unwanted energy, leave your Mala in moonlight overnight, let it rest under a tree or in a potted plant, smudge it with sage or lemongrass, or use other crystals such as Amethyst or Quartz Crystal.
How to Use a Mala for Meditation
Using mala beads for your meditation is an invaluable tool in meditation, yoga, and a deep meditative practice. The mala is used by holding it with either hand even though traditionally it is held using the left hand. You start just after the Guru bead and do your mantra meditations while holding every single bead between your thumb and the index finger. Drape the mala over your finger after you have recited a mantra; this allows the bead to pass over the finger towards you. When you are through with a complete circle of the mala you come back to the Guru bead.
The use of a mala helps to ground and stabilize attention.
The most common wrist malas are known as “mala bracelets”. They are usually made from semi-precious stone or wood beads and have about 21 beads that are strung on a stretchy cord to be worn around the wrist. These smaller, handheld malas are often used for daily wear or travel. They recently entered popular culture and were known as power beads or wrist malas.