Why Mala?


What is Mala?
In very simple terms a Mala is a simple string of beads used in Japa meditation to count mantras, prayers, or intentions. Mala is the Sanskrit word for garland and has been compared, in the Catholic Religion, to Rosary Beads. Mala were originally developed to aid in meditation or prayer to keep the mind focused and clear from thoughts.
A traditional Mala contains 108 beads plus one guru bead and is long enough to be worn as a necklace or wrapped around the wrist many times. Mala can also be strung as a half Mala with 54 beads or as a wrist Mala with 27 beads and worn as a bracelet. Mala can also be made with 18 or 9 beads. Often, Mala with 27 beads represents progress, while those with 108 beads represent fulfillment. The guru (teacher) bead is often larger than the other counting beads and provides a starting and ending point for counting the repetitions of the mantra. A tassel is connected to the end of the guru bead to finish the Mala with a final series of knots and symbolizes the petals of the lotus flower. 
On a personal note, there is no WRONG way to make or wear Mala. There is a traditional way, and YOUR way. When I first started wearing Mala, I wore it because I thought it was beautiful. As time went on, I started to believe that the beads were very powerful and were able to capture positive energy. I would wear my Mala when I needed to borrow those positive vibes and make sure to wear them again during happy experiences so I could charge them back up again. Over time, I started to mediate and use mantras with my Mala. You, of course, can take my original stance and tell me I'm a hippie witch and wear your Mala because you think they are cool and pretty. Remember, there is no wrong way to wear or make Mala.
You do you! 

If you do decide to try to with mediate with Mala, here is a good place to start. 

  • Find your mantra (some examples below).
  • Sit straight, with your feet planted firmly to the earth.
  • Keep your back straight and strong.
  • Keep your eyes closed (this may take practice at first).
  • Hold your Mala in your right hand. Let it rest on the second and third fingers (ring and middle). You want to try to avoid using your index finger as this finger represents ego. Let that sh!t go!
  • Starting at the Guru Bead, use the thumb to bring down each bead toward your heart while chanting the chosen mantra in your mind. When you return to the Guru, chant your mantra aloud to fulfill your practice.
 Possible Mantras
I am loved. I am healthy. I am strong.
May all beings be happy, peaceful and free from suffering.
(Some believe each individual Mala holds a unique mantra)