How to Choose a Mala For You!
It is always a challenge for me to describe the process for selecting a mala, more likely than not because it is different for everyone. Some people want to choose intellectually, selecting crystals with particular energies that appeal to them and they believe they 'want'. Others will walk in and gravitate naturally to what they 'need'. It is important there is no right way to choose, but it is amazing to note that the people that choose intellectually, eventually do choose by intuition: they just have to see past their wants. Trusting in our innate wisdom is a pretty lofty challenge!
I have noted over the years that people's choices are stymied by one of 2 things, pricing or lack of knowledge about the composition. I have compiled a few insights, gained over the last 4 years, about the composition of a mala and what to look for that will affect pricing and wear. It is not an exhaustive list and I will update it as I go along.
Please remember, what I will be expressing below is just an opinion and take what you need from this discussion to determine your best strategy for selecting a mala.
Know you only need one mala or maybe two. I know that colours me as a not so savvy businesswoman but my business plan focuses on spreading the love of japa mala, mantr and meditation in order to bring peace and calm. I have created 3 for myself and I am a mala maker, so I try to practice what I preach. Remember, this is a sacred talisman, not a fashion item. Be aware, if you are choosing your mala as a fashion item, it won't stay that way forever. These beautiful articles of spiritual armour have a way of gently inviting you to the world of 'more' and before you know it, you will have a japa mala practice....its only a matter of time.
If you are called to a mala in a magnificent way, and it fits into your budget then buy it and don’t try to intellectualize. If you are conscious of pricing, I have compiled a list of features that will affect the price of your mala and bring you to a place of understanding about what affects the pricing, sometimes it can be downright scary!!
- How is it put together? Is it knotted, no-knots, or does it have small beads as spacers? Knotting is the most expensive, and to put it in perspective, many artisans charge $1.25 per knot to restring a mala….there are 108 knots which means this can be an expensive prospect. If it is a wrist mala, ask the malamaker how thick the elastic is…it needs to be about .8 or 1mm to be durable and withstand the stress of being stretched on and off the hand.
- Design-is there a design? Then know the malamaker had to endeavour to create and string the crystals in a controlled manner. This is much more time consuming than stringing crystals of the same type.
- Crystals-Does the mala have many types of crystals? If so it will have great diversity for the long term…more cyrstals means more energies available to you throughout the lifetime of your mala. More bang for the buck. Also, if the malamaker combines more expensive with lesser expensive crystals you will have access to so many wonderful energies at a manageable price.
- Accents-I prefer a mala with no metal on it but I have found over the years that people love the ‘bling’. Even the best metal tarnishes or changes colour so be mindful of this when purchasing. I use silver as well as alloys to keep the pricing manageable for people but it will have to be shined up with a soft cloth. I also love the patina some alloys develop over the years, it brings a rich depth to the mala.
- Size of Bead-generally 6mm and 8mm are used for traditional 108 bead malas. This size is perfect for wearing all the time.
- Crystals, Wood, Seeds, Synthetic beads-All of these beads varying in price. Even a man-made bead can be very expensive so this aspect of a mala must be governed by your intuition. If it calls you then don’t think too much about it..that can be harmful to the brain
- Tassel or pendant - To be honest a pendant should last longer and appeals to most people and can be worn with a business suit or office attire without looking too Boho. BUT if you like a tassel there is no reason you cannot wear it all the time. A well-made tassel looks fantastic and edgy and more importantly, there is a comfort in having that soft touchstone when you need to centre yourself.
There are so many types of malas available I am sure you will be able to find something that fits into your budget and lifestyle.