What is a Mala?
Well they certainly have become a fashion item being seen on some of the coolest TV shows but they are truly not jewellery. Malas are a tool used to facilitate counting of mantras during meditation and/or they are a manifestation of an intention. Originally, they were used by shepherds to help them count the herd… kind of like a pocket calculator. They come in varied sizes: 18, 21, 27, 54 and the traditional size of 108 beads. To be honest, I have seen many products being sold as malas that don’t meet the ‘numbers’ requirement (sacred number of 9) but I believe the work you do with it defines its purpose, your intention, not a rule about a number. I love the feel of the double-knotted malas for meditating, and for portability, I always have a wrist full of beautiful malas. There are so many types available and I cannot list all the variations. The likelihood at finding one that works for you is great! (please read Tips for selecting a mala)
You do not have to meditate in the traditional way to use a mala but if you are up for an adventure into the unknown, it is a beautiful journey. There are many, many mantras to choose from when practicing japa mala but be aware that the most powerful will be the one that comes from your heart. If you cannot fathom reciting ‘om’ or feeling adventurous to try another ‘time proven effective’ mantra, then create an affirmation that resonates in your heart and use your mala to count off your recitations. I have attempted to include some helpful information for you to create your affirmation.
How to use your mala:
Once again, there are many opinions/practices on the right way to use a mala but you are the master here. I will outline a few choices that I have found work for me and I am certain you will find even more efficient ways to integrate your intention into your life.
- Make your japa mala practice part of your routine. Maybe part of your ensemble so you can take advantage of quiet times during your day to ensure your practice is always possible.
- Some people work it into their yoga practice by placing their mala at the end of their mat to remind them of their intention, others practice during savasana.
- Wear your mala on your body daily, and seek calm during your day by physically reconnecting with your intention. Some challenging situations are easier to experience when I hold my beads and mindfully ‘go positive’.
- Practice your mantras first thing in the morning before the world descends upon you or late at night to clear a troubled mind. Or both maybe? You are a rock star!!
- Be forgiving if you miss a day or forget to bring them with you. It will be calling out to you when you return home.
**Please Note: None of this information should be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your health care provider before starting alternative therapies or new regimes. **