For thousands of years, yogis and spiritual enthusiasts have used Mala during meditation. Mala first emerged over 3,000 years ago in India in Buddhist and Hindu prayer during ceremonial meditation called Japa. Contemporaries today still use them for focus during meditation, yoga, and affirmations. These are widely found in a range of materials, including wood, metal, and stone.
What are Mala Beads?
Mala Beads have been used in Buddhist and Hindu prayer ceremonies and meditation for centuries. These are typically used to aid in counting the number of repetitions of mantras or phrases. There are typically 108 in a string, and there is usually a decorative tassel on the end of the strand, sometimes adorned further with embellishments or amulets. They are often compared to the Catholic rosaries, also used widely in religious applications.
The meaning of these is deeply symbolic and spiritual, however, this has found a new life being used in meditation and yoga practice for concentration and mindfulness. As there are 108 beads, which is seemingly a random number, several theories exist. Some believe the one represents God, the zero stands for humility, and the eight mirrors the infinity symbol. Others endorse the belief that malas become what is intended by the wearer, and it is these intentions that create energy and synergy.
The symbolism of mala doesn’t stop here, many feel that the tassel also has an underlying meaning related to how many strands come together as one, a deeper message of unity and oneness. The Guru bead is directly secured to the tassel and, as such, has special significance. The Guru bead pays tribute to the relationship present in guru and student mentorship. If your pearls are crafted traditionally, they will feature overhand knots which make them more durable, stronger, and versatile, as they can be used for Japa meditation practice which uses each bead for further repetitions and chants.
What is the Best Way to Wear Mala?
When it comes to wearing these, they are becoming more of a fashion statement among those with Bohemian style and flair. The tassel will hang low when worn as a necklace, so pair it with a shorter necklace and possibly even a choker. You can also feel the power when you wear them in conjunction with your gemstone pieces. Even consider looking for gemstones for added energy and healing properties. You could also consider raw stones that re-emphasize some of the traits that you may use in meditation, such as rose quartz for clarity, and jade for prosperity or fortune. Traditional malas are almost always worn on the right hand, wrapped around the wrist like a bracelet.
If you are going to wear Mala beads, there are a few rules you should know about. For example, it is not appropriate for your beads, either necklaces or bracelets, to ever touch the ground. Also, make sure that you are cleansing your rosary periodically, or when you feel like there has been a lot of negative energy around you. The general rule of thumb is that you wear the beads for a period of 40 days so that they can become attuned to your energy. You can balance out the energy, and recharge them, by placing them in the direct light of the sun for an entire day, or the moon overnight. It is also suggested that you don’t allow others to touch, hold, feel, or use them. This is a practice that is currently debated as they are a useful prayer implement that many can benefit from. If you are so inclined, go ahead and let others handle your rosary, as you can always cleanse and recharge them later.
How Can I Use My Mala Beads?
The most widespread use is for improved focus and controlled breathing during yoga and meditation, or when praying. The best way to use your pearls is to first take a few cleansing breaths and try to clear your mind. This is much easier when you are seated comfortably with your eyes closed and back straight. Try to think about your intention, use your mantra or chant, while continuing to visualize your intention. Hold them in your right hand, start at the Guru bead, and count, using your thumb to pull each bead to you with each mantra or chant. Take time and care to hold and handle the Mala beads, turn them individually in your hands and rotate each bead with your thumb and index finger. The knotting makes it easier to go from one bead to the next and helps with the tactile experience as you focus on your thoughts. Remember to breathe deeply, slowly, and relax during your practice. These beads also make for an effective aid during progressive relaxation practice when you are attempting to clear the mind and form intentions.
When you find your way back to the starter bead, you will have completed 109 repetitions, including the Guru bead, and you can reverse your direction if you choose for more mantras and meditation. Whether you pray, chant, or meditate out loud or silently is up to you. Just be cognizant and considerate of others if you are practicing in public forums, group meditations, or yoga classes as everyone else is trying to also clear their mind and focus.
Not into meditation? Don’t pray? That is alright, you can still use and wear these. These beaded strands bring a natural, bohemian look to any apparel. Wear with jeans on the weekend or double up to wear with a business casual ensemble for work. These beaded accessories are definitely a conversation piece and very trendy. Why not wear and use them in your own meditations or prayer practice? Use these tips provided to wear, use, and buy the perfect pearls. Also, buy these beads to share with someone as a special gift that will be cherished. Mala foster focus, encourage mindfulness and provide a powerful tool for holistic and spiritual wellbeing.
Interested in making your own mala? Download our free tutorial: