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A mala is a strand of 108 beads that are used to keep count during a silent mantra meditation. Often malas are worn as colorful necklaces or bracelets. In addition to being a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, they are a powerful tool for your yoga and meditation practice. Mala beads are sometimes referred to as Buddhist beads or Buddhist prayer beads – they have been used in Buddhism and Hinduism for centuries and they date back to the 10th century. Mala beads are growing in popularity in recent years – they are an ancient tool that has become “hip” again! People who wear malas usually believe that when malas are used regularly they absorb your vibrations and if you wear it daily, the more positive energy it can absorb and reflect back to you.
A mala is a string of 108 beads that are used in a traditional meditation practice. One bead is the summit or head bead called a “sumeru.” Malas are used as a tool to help you focus your mind as you meditate and (silently) count mantras in sets of 108 repetitions. (Note: This is also known as tracking a “Japa” or mantra meditation) All of us who meditate know how hard it can be at times to focus and keep one’s mind still. The mala helps you keep an easy count during the repetition of your mantra and will help you be more consistent with daily meditation.
How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation
Here is a simple step-by-step process to use your mala beads:
- Choose a quiet spot to sit comfortably with your eyes closed. As you take a few deep breaths, center and align yourself with your intention.
- If you have a mantra, use it for this practice
- Hold your mala in your right hand (note: in India the left hand is considered “impur.”) and use your thumb and middle finger to “count” each mantra as you touch the gemstone or seed. As you say your mantra lightly pull the bead toward you before you go on to the next bead. (Note: the “guru” bead is used as the marking for the start/end points of reciting your mantra and should not be counted or touched by your thumb.
- If you want to continue your meditation, when you get to the guru bead, just reverse the direction and begin again for another round of 108 recitations of your mantra.
How to Choose the Best Mala
If you choose a quality mala, it will last you a long time.
The gemstones used in mala beads are considered to have metaphysical healing properties. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Amazonite – improved self worth and self confidence
- Amber – lift heaviness and absorb impurities
- Amethyst – spiritually uplifting; provides greater energy and clears energy blockages
- Aquamarine – promotes love and mercy; comfort for those experiencing grief
- Aventurine – helps with circulation, blood disorders, clearing congestion and alleviating allergies
- Black Obsidian – provides grounding and helps to sort out complex problems
- Black Onyx – helps to change bad habits and focus chakras
- Dark Jade – one of the strongest stones for physical and emotional healing
- Freshwater Pearl – helps one to accept love from self and others
- Mother-Of-Pearl – helps accept others by cleansing blocks
- Quartz – increases personal insight and alignment with a higher purpose
- Rose Quartz – helps with emotional balance and effective for soothing emotions
- Tiger’s Eye – attract wealth, money and luck
- Turquoise – master healing stone that can help with trauma
It is good to know the above reports properties, but we also believe that your own intuition is the best guide. When you’re choosing a mala, let yourself be drawn to the stones that naturally attract you and let yourself be open to that experience (and you’ll probably be surprised!) You’ll be wearing and carrying your intentions with you every time you wear your mala!
The Best Malas We Recommend
Turquoise is the stone of luck and success and this option will help accent a wide variety of clothes while also bringing you self realization and contentment.
These beautiful rose wood beads are made in India of deep ruddy brown beads that are lovingly knotted together with a tassel. They make a great fashion statement especially if you wear browns and reds in your wardrobe. Rose wood is thought to strengthen your spiritual aura and help repel negativity.
If you love the naturally fragrant smell of sandalwood, you will love these mala beads. They are a medium brown shade that will go well with a wide wardrobe color palette. These beads are fair trade and hand crafted in Nepal and purchasing helps support Nepali artisans. Sandalwood is purported to promote energy and enthusiasm and to increase your self esteem and zest for life when you wear them.
Bivei 7 Chakra 108 Mala Beads Bracelet Real Healing Gemstone Yoga Meditation Hand Knotted Mala Prayer Bead Necklace
This is the best choice if you’re looking for an economical option that will go with your entire wardrobe.
This one comes with 2 pendant options – either a Lotus or a Tree of Life charm hanging from the head bead.
Finally, if you need a solid cushion, to sit on during your yoga practice be sure to see our in depth guide to meditation pillow.