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Why Mala Beads Are So Much More Than A Piece Of Pretty Jewelry

And how to use them to support your meditation and yoga practice.

Here’s what you need to know about mala beads, friends.

In Sanskrit, the word mala means garland. Mala beads have been used in India as an aid to meditation since the eighth century. Since this time, the mala, prayer beads or rosary has been adopted by other religions and spiritual practitioners, but most commonly associated with Buddhism or Hinduism.

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Male beads are traditionally worn either around the neck or wrapped around the wrist, and each strand consists of 108 beads with one additional larger “guru” bead. You see, 108 is considered an auspicious and sacred number in Indian culture, as well as in yogic traditions. It is said that there are 108 lines of energy that come together to create the heart chakra. Indeed, for just about everything out there—sports, literature, martial arts, religion, technology, you name it—the number 108 carries mystical power.

Using a mala in meditation supports increased focus, as it acts as a tool to keep count if using mantra, chants or simply the breath. During yoga, the beads are often used to set an intention, and by wearing them or placing them at the head of your mat, they act as a reminder of what you wish to manifest.

Regularly wearing or carrying our mala beads is said to absorb the vibrations of our practice and reflects back the positive energy. They can prove to be a great source of calm when we need to compose ourselves during anxious or stressful moments, so keep those beads close (especially before going into that stressful meeting).

To use a mala, hold the beads in your right hand and let the beads drape between your thumb and middle finger. Starting at the guru bead, use your thumb to touch each bead, reciting your mantra silently each time. Once you’ve made your way back around to the guru bead, you can reverse the counting to repeat another set of 108 mantras or breaths. Each bead represents either a breath in or out, or one mantra.

Mala beads are very personal to the wearer, so it is advisable to tune into what your intuition is telling you when choosing your beads. You may find that you are instantly drawn to a set of beads without really understanding why; go with that feeling, your mala is choosing you.

Mala beads are so much more than a fashion accessory that defines one as “spiritual.” It is an important tactile tool use to facilitate meditation and instill a feeling of calm at any given moment. If chosen correctly, a mala can be a representation of your authentic self and intention.

If you are in the market to invest in mala beads, we love the products made by Tiny Devotions.

(Cover photo via Tiny Devotions)

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