What Are Mala Beads?
Meaning “garland” in Sanskrit, a mala necklace is comprised of 108 beads and has traditionally been used in religious and spiritual practice. They are popular with yoga and meditation enthusiasts as the gemstones are thought to have healing properties and contain different energies within. The mala necklace is open to interpretation and the meaning of it is individual to each wearer.
While meditating, a mala bead necklace can be used in a similar way to how rosary beads are used – by choosing a bead and repeating a mantra or prayer for each bead on the string. A ‘guru’ bead that is larger than any of the other beads is usually present, this indicates where you should begin and end your meditation.
If you want your mala meditation beads to be truly personal and suitable to you, begin by choosing your own beads that you wish the necklace to be made out of. You may be drawn to certain ones, or choose based off of the properties that the gem is thought to contain. Malas made with seeds and wood connect you to the earth, Rudraksha seeds are said to entice calm and you can also find mala meditation beads specifically to balance the chakras or energies in your body. Make your intention clear, what it is it that you want the beads to do?
Wearing a mala bracelet can also be a good idea if you want to wear it throughout the day as it is more discreet than a necklace. By having it with you, you can take time out of your day to meditate for brief sessions or use it as a calming aid if you become overwhelmed by anxiety or stress.
How To Use Mala Beads While Meditating
1. Choose a spot and sit comfortably. Keep your spine straight and your eyes shut. Take deep breaths and centre yourself.
2. Hold the mala necklace in your right hand, between the thumb and middle finger.
3. Using your thumb, move the necklace one bead at a time whilst repeating your chosen mantra (Either silently or out loud). Repeat until you have gone through every bead and you reach the guru bead.
Using mala beads is a great way to centre yourself and focus your mind. The repetitiveness of the mantra and sliding the beads through your fingers is a perfect ritual for healing meditation. If you don’t wish to use the beads for meditation or prayer, try wearing them anyway and see if it has a calming and peaceful affect on you.