When I received my first set of mala beads, I'll be honest, I had no idea how to use them or how important they would become to me.
Over the years they have literally changed my life. They are a wonderful meditation aid, and even more, a wonderful reminder of what I'm trying to cultivate in my life.
Curious how mala beads work? Let's get started!
First things first. What are mala beads?
Mala beads are meditation necklaces that are used to recite an affirmation or mantra, and are a tangible reminder of your intentions.
I started making mala beads because I noticed such a huge difference in my mindset as a stay at home mom by setting aside time daily to meditate and set my intention.
Because here's the thing:
It is our job as mothers to be our children’s anchor, the calm enduring presence that can ground them during the turbulent moments of life.
But what we often forget is that as mothers we need an anchor as well, to ground us, remind us of our intentions, and bring us back to our center so we can remain present and wholehearted with our families and friends.
We can't fill anyone else's cup when we are feeling depleted, stressed or overwhelmed.
So how do I actually use my mala beads?
Each set of mala beads is made up of 108 +1 beads since it is said that our bodies contain 108 major physical and subtle energy channels that reach the heart chakra.
By meditating with your mala beads and chanting or listening to a mantra 108 times the energy from the mantra permeates both the physical and energetic body.
The 109th bead, also called the ‘guru’ bead, signifies the beginning and end of your meditation practice. The larger guru bead holds the intention of your mala.
To meditate with your mala beads, begin by setting an intention for what you want to cultivate in your life.
To start, you find the first sandalwood (or rudraksha) bead to the right of your guru bead.
Moving from the right side to the left repeat your chosen mantra once for each sandalwood or rudraksha bead on your mala until you come back around to your guru bead.
If you would like to stretch out your meditation, you can flip your mala around and work your way back along all of the beads until you reach the guru again (Does that make sense? essentially you want to go back the way you came instead fo crossing over).
When you have reached the guru stone, take a moment to sit with the energy of your meditation and focus on your intention.
Imagine your intention is already real, and try your best to really feel with your entire body what it will feel like when your intention is manifested.
Feel the butterflies in your stomach, or the calmness of your breath.
End your meditation by taking a few moments to sit in gratitude for all of the abundance already in your life and thank god/spirit/the universe for your blessings.
If chanting a mantra isn't for you, you can also hold your mala during a silent meditation and let it absorb the peace of the practice, or use it to repeat an affirmation if that is more your style.
If you are new to mantras and meditation my favourite way to get started is to put on a mantra (here is an awesome album) and just breathe and listen, moving your fingers across the smooth beads each time the mantra is sung.
It may sound silly but try to focus on the vibration of the mantra as it is repeated. Let it permeate your entire being.
It only takes a few minutes, but I promise that the results are beyond measure.
If your day starts to get off track, you can hold onto your mala beads to soak up its peaceful energy, ground yourself and remember your intentions.