Whenever I go to retreat centres or festivals I see so many people wearing mala beads, but there’s actually a lot more to them than just a piece of jewelry. So here’s a lot more information about Malas, and what they’re for.
What Is A Mala?
Mala is the Sanskrit word for Garland, and is the term used for a string of beads used to focus thoughts and intention during meditation or prayer.
How Many Beads Are On A Mala?
It is most commonly thought that there are 108 beads on a full Mala, but that’s not actually correct. Each full Mala also has a Guru Bead which brings them together in the middle, making it 109. The number 108 has
You can also get Half-Malas which have 54 Beads, and are called a Rosary in some traditions.
While bracelets and necklaces with different numbers of beads, often threaded on elastic, can look beautiful, these are not traditional Malas.
Are Malas Used In A Specific Religion or Tradition?
Nope. Historically evidence of Malas has been found as far back as the 8th Century BC, and they have been used for the meditative practice known as Japa within many spiritual disciplines and faiths, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Shinto, as well as the Rosary half-sized Malas used within the Christian Church.
Why Would You Use A Mala?
Using Mala Beads while you meditate brings many benefits, I guess that’s why they’ve been around so long! These include…
- Increased focus without distraction
- Effectively keep track of how many mantras without losing count or wondering where you’ve got to
- The somatic, or physical, experience enlivens the intention and healing within you
- Seeing your Mala throughout the day is a reminder of your intention and allows you to keep focus on what’s important to you
- Can be made with specific crystals/intentions to strengthen your meditation process
Are There Specific Ways To Work With A Mala?
Yep! There are specific ways to hold your Mala, sit while you meditate with it, and so (but that’s a whole other set of blog posts). However, the most important thing is to set the intention that what you do will honour the ancient traditions and allow their power to flow through you as you meditate, so that you can send it back out into the World.
Where Can I Get A Mala From?
You can often get Malas from festivals or even retreats, but it’s important to make sure that these are created in a way that is respectful and true to the origins of the traditions they were created within. Look for knots between the beads, and don’t be afraid to ask about where the stones and crystals have been sourced from.
All of our Malas are 100% vegan with each component ethically sourced. I’m happy to produce a special set of Bespoke Mala Beads for you, but my number one recommendation would always be that you think about making your own.
When you make your own Mala you are able to work your own intention strongly and powerfully into the beads themselves, whether that be World Peace, a special soulmate for you, or anything in-between. To make it easy I’ve even put together some kits for you.
When Is The Best Time To Use My Mala?
The most important thing is to use it. Often when you worry about things like what time of day is best you can end up procrastinating and missing your meditation time altogether. So the best time is now.
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