What are mala beads?
Although mala beads may look like just another beautiful accessory, they are actually a powerful meditation tool that can keep you more focused, present and patient in your everyday life.
Malas and prayer beads have been used in the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and other cultures for thousands of years.
By holding the energy of your intentions, harnessing the power of healing stones and providing a focal point in your meditation practice, mala beads are a valuable tool for living a fully present and meaningful life.
Mala beads, also sometimes called meditation beads or prayer necklaces, are used to recite a mantra or prayer in meditation.
We love mala beads because they make it easy to create a sustainable meditation practice.
You don't need to worry about setting a timer, and the physical sensation of moving the beads helps to quiet the racing thoughts that can make meditation challenging.
When you find yourself at school pick up a few minutes early, or notice the kids are quietly playing at the park, you can fit in a quick meditation and continue through your day with a renewed sense of calm and presence.
Why do malas have 108 beads?
There are many cultural and scientific reasons that 108 is considered a sacred number, although we resonate most with the one below.
According to Vedic astrology, 108 represents the universe and is the basis of all creation through its relationship to the Sun, Earth, and Moon.
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of Earth. The distance from the Sun to Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The distance from the Earth to Moon is 108 times the diameter of the moon. Lastly, there are 12 astrological houses and 9 planets. 12 multiplied by 9 equals 108.
When mantras are chanted 108 times each chant represents a journey from our material self towards our highest spiritual self. Each breath is believed to bring you one breath closer to the higher power within and oneness with the entire universe.
You will notice that your mala is broken up into two groups of 27 and one of 54.
The mala is separated this way to allow a shorter but still balanced meditation by completing one section instead of the entire mala.
What is a guru bead?
The larger guru bead signals the beginning and end of your meditation. Since the guru bead represents your intentions, it is often made with a stone that represents properties you want to cultivate.
When you are meditating with your mala beads, you will take a moment to thank all the teachers in your life when you reach the guru bead. Each meditation begins to the right of the guru bead, and continues until you have recited your mantra once for each bead.
How do you use mala beads?
- Begin by setting an intention for what you want to cultivate in your life.
- Starting at your guru bead, repeat your chosen mantra once for each sandalwood or stone bead on your mala until you come back around to your guru bead.
Traditionally you will practice with the same mantra every day for 21 or 40 days. When choosing a mantra choose something that resonates with you personally and reflects your intentions.
You can also wear your malas during a silent meditation and let the mala beads soak up the calming energy it creates so you can carry this peace with you throughout the day.
Many people have more than one set of mala beads, either for use of different mantras, or for the different energies the stones bring.
Mala beads are an incredible tool to keep you aligned with your intentions and go deeper into your meditation practice.
When you wear them throughout the day they become a tangible reminder to be mindful, live in the moment and make decisions aligned with your long term goals.