This post is brought to you by Mala Kamala, a woman-owned small business based out of Australia (but they ship worldwide!). She makes the most gorgeous mala beads, her packaging is fantastic, and her passion for what she does shines through in each piece she creates. Thank you for supporting the companies that support YBC.
Mala beads are gorgeous jewelry pieces that combine fashion and function. Obviously they look great (even on men!), but they're also excellent for meditation and a way to easily keep track of how many mantras or breaths we've done. But I've learned that there's so much more that meets the eye when it comes to malas, so I thought I'd share my findings.
Malas are traditionally made with 108 beads. Why 108 beads? Because a mantra is recited 100 times, and then eight additional times to allow for error. There are also counter beads - slightly larger than the rest - to help keep track when you're counting.
But what makes 108 such a special number? Well, there are probably 108 explanations...but the one I like best is the idea of the heart chakra and that there are 108 energy lines that run through the heart.
Malas can be made out of any number of materials including lotus seeds, sandalwood, and precious gemstones. Each material is said to carry different energy. Lotus seeds, for example, are said to help with the ability to overcome all obstacles because the lotus flower grows in muddy waters, and against all odds becomes one of the most gorgeous flowers. Sandalwood, on the other hand, is said to have a soothing ability and attract positive energy. Amethyst is a protective stone that is said to neutralize negative energies and balance emotional highs and lows.
How to Use a Mala Bead Necklace
The necklace is generally knotted between each bead, and is held in the left hand during meditation. One bead is counted for each mantra said, starting with the first bead next to the larger (aka guru) bead next to the tassel. The guru bead is usually a more decorative or larger stone.
The first bead is held between the middle finger and thumb, and with each mantra the thumb pulls another bead in place of the middle finger. You should always pull the beads towards you to bring in positive energy. You should also keep your index finger pointing away from you during the mediation and not let it touch the beads since the index finger symbolizes ego and therefore pointing it away from yourself helps the ego to stay out of the practice.
Recite one mantra and then move the thumb and middle finger along to the next bead and repeat.
Cleansing the Mala Beads
The thought is that everything absorbs and emits a vibrational frequencies, and therefore the beads pick up the energy you carry, and the energy of the environment in which you bring them. Cleansing the malas will restore the balance of energies. You can cleanse them by:
Programming the Mala Beads
Just like in the yoga practice, it's important to set an intention for the mala beads. Be as specific as you can when setting your intention - does your intention lie within your yoga practice? Relationship? Job? Hold the mala in your hands and close your eyes and silently say your intention.
Charging the Mala Beads
Keeping in mind that malas absorb and give off energy, it's important to let them recharge from time to time. Place them in the sunlight for a few hours - just be careful not to leave them out for too long because depending on the material, the sun could cause fading.
I'd love to know your thoughts - do you use mala beads? Would you consider using them for meditation or fashion?