Mala beads have been used traditionally in prayer and meditation for centuries, most commonly by Buddhists and Hindus. The beads are used as a reminder of our intentions and as a tool for concentration whilst meditating or praying.
They have several names other than mala beads including malas, Buddhist beads and Buddhist prayer beads.
Mala beads are made up of semi-precious gemstones sourced from the ground or from a sacred material such as Sandalwood, Rudraksha or Rosewood. These sacred materials are commonly used during religious rituals and are believed to deepen one’s meditation practise and increase abundance and property.
You may find your chosen mala has 108 beads plus a ‘guru stone’ or a tassel on the end. The guru stone, which is the 109th stone, is used to thank teachers (yoga teacher, family, friends, partners, mentors etc).
The significance for 108 beads differs from person to person. In all honesty, it’s open to interpretation. Some believe it is associated with the 108 stages of the journey of the human soul whereas someone else may tell you that there is enlightenment with only taking 108 breaths during deep meditation.
One popular reason behind the number 108 is the intention of repeating your chanted mantra, which could be a sound or a string of words 100 times. The beads allow you to keep track of where you are and the extra 8 allow for errors, or even more in-depth, as an offering to your chosen guru.
There are many benefits to using mala beads in meditation and for your self-awareness, this wonderful accessory and tool can help in the following ways:
- It calms and conditions the body, mind and spirit by driving away your distractions.
- It reduces stress levels, which is one of the biggest benefits of deep meditation.
- It can help increase your focus and emotional stability.
- It can improve your concentration during meditation, which eventually leads to becoming more focused.
- It can help increase productivity and retain new information.
- It fosters self-empowerment.
- Brings inner peace and calms the mind.
- It can aid in strengthening your intuition.
There is no limitation to how your mala can help you personally, but to get started you need to discover what your chosen mala will be and why.
How do you choose your mala?
The benefit of choosing your own mala is it will always be personal to you, something special, your spiritual ‘forget me not’ if you like. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and something which inspires you, may not inspire the person next to you. Whatever it means, do not compare yours to someone else’s. There is not a determined way to choose your mala, listen to what your instinct tells you and follow that.
You can start by recognising what kind of stone or mala beads you are drawn to. This may be due to the colour which you associate yourself with, or simply a colour you wear a lot. Embrace your first intuition and start researching what that colour means and whether this suits your intention. For example, pink rose quartz indicates love and harmony whilst turquoise represents grounding and protection. You want to choose a colour which can become your everyday staple.
The same goes with the shape, choose something which you are drawn to and whether you connect with the energy from your gemstone. Gemstones are said to emit their own special vibrations and healing energy. Wear this stone near the chakras, centre of the body, and see if you find yourself connecting with it individually and whether it aligns with your intention.
How do you choose your mantra?
Your mantra, as mentioned before, can be a sound, a word or a phrase, which is repeated over to aid your concentration whilst meditating. The idea is that by repeating your positive mantra, it will fill your mind and eliminate any negative thoughts you may be having. You can choose a mantra for yourself if you have not been given one by a teacher or guru. It will depend on what you are searching for and your motivations for practising meditation.
For example, if you are practising self-love, you could choose “I am love” or if you are meditating to release something, try “Today I choose happiness”. You can find your right mantra for positivity, health, peace, calmer mind or simply balance in your life.
Before you start your meditation journey, it is important to set your intentions for the practice, so you know exactly what you want to achieve.
How do you set your intention?
Setting your intentions is a powerful way to manifest your dreams and goals. Tiny Devotions explains clearly how simple it is to set your intention and how to stick to it.
- Firstly, decide what are your dreams and your goals? Have a clear idea of what your deepest desires are. Ask yourself, what do you want? How do you want to feel? These are your intentions.
- Write them down. When you put pen to paper you’re making your aspirations real.
- Share it. Share your dreams and goals with your friends and family. With their support, you can feel empowered, confident and radiant.
- Wear it. Wear your mala beads every day as a reminder of what you are trying to achieve.
- Release & trust. Do not obsess over your intention, let it come naturally and do not get caught up in the specifics.
- Check in. Remind yourself daily of your intentions, whether this is with a few minutes of meditation if you are busy or reading over the dreams you wrote down when you first decided on them.
How do you use your mala beads?
The simplest way of using your mala bead during meditation is to hold your beads in your right hand, draped between your middle and index finger. Start at the guru beads and use your thumb to count each bead as you pull it towards you, reciting your mantra. Do this 108 times, moving around the mala, until you once again reach your guru stone.
Wear your mala beads throughout the day to remind you of your goals, dreams and intentions and to remind you of the journey you are on.