Monday, June 16, 2014

Mala Love

Recently, a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of malas. We were out to lunch and I was immediately drawn in by this beautiful necklace she was wearing. She explained that it was a mala. At the time, I didn't know what a mala was but I was more than ready to find out.

Malas are used as a meditation necklace. They can be made from rudraksha seeds or gemstones.   Typically, a mala has 108 beads. Why 108 beads you ask? Well there are many reasons why 108 is an important number you can find the list here. The 109th bead is the Guru bead, when you reach this bead you are to stop and thank your teachers and those who have influenced your life. Malas that are given as presents can be powerful tool for meditation.

To use a mala, you start on either side of the Guru bead (which will be the big bead in the center). Holding the first bead between your thumb and middle finger, focus on your mantra (can be a Vedic hymm or a slogan for you to live by that day such as: strength, gratitude, integrity, etc.) or your breath (inhaling on one bead, exhaling on the other).

Malas are great for individuals who are just starting their meditation practice. The presence of the necklace draws back in a wandering mind. The Mayo Clinic has an article about the benefits of meditating. If you don't want to read the whole thing, I can recap it for you. Meditation helps you gain new perspective on stressful situations and build new skills to manage stress. Your self awareness is increased and you're able to focus on the present. Basically, meditation teaches mindfulness. There are SO MANY benefits to this.

Most malas are handmade. When purchasing, you want to stay away from any dyed products. I've begun making my own (that in and of itself is a great way to teach mindfulness... but that's a different article). Let me know if you have any questions!