We are often asked the question “do I need mala beads?” there is some confusion that they are only for yoga practice at a high level. This is not so, and they are easy to use, bringing an instant connection to your practice and a route to calm as you need it
What are mala beads and what do they bring into the equation of meditation and serenity in yoga practice?
The word bead derives from the OLD English noun "bede" meaning prayer, the use of beads in prayer and meditation dates back tens of thousands of years and is used in most traditions including Hindu Muslim and Christian prayer. The number of beads is different but the intention is the same. Primarily they are used to focus and keep the attention on the prayer.
Traditional mala’s have 108 plus 1 guru bead beads which is significant. The 108 beads represent the whole universe.
Mala beads can be used to regroup, to focus, to heal and to spiritually evolve your practice. Moreover, they offer sanctuary and calm even when life is rushing around you at a fast pace. Therefore, you need to select a garland that will feel best for you. Understanding where they have come from will help with your connection.
First a little about the Mala Beads we have at Yoga United
Sourcing your special mala beads is an important part of the process. Knowing where they were made and in what spirit is all part of the connection. At Yoga United they are carefully sourced, as all our products are. They are traditional with 108 +1 beads and from the Ramakrishna Math in Chennai.
We particularly like the spirit in which these beads are made. The Rammakrishna mission statement is for one’s own salvation and for the welfare of the world. Sri Ramakarishna Math has a history of over a hundred years of service to society. Educating students at the school, nursing the sick at the medical facility and serving at the temple in the kitchen or the garden. These are all considered forms of a single act of worship. Making these beads is also an act of worship.
In addition to these traditional Mala beads we stock beads made from tulsi beads for medicinal healing, rudraksha beads for spiritual healing and sandalwood for physical healing.
Now that we have answered the question Do I need Mala beads? we can explain how to use them.
How to use your Mala
Make yourself comfortable and select your deity or your mantra find an image or words to create a prayer that has meaning for you.
Hold the mala in your right hand. Avoid touching it with your index finger as this represents the ego
Move from bead to bead, starting after the guru bead, repeating your words or focusing on the image. As you move through all 109 beads you will have completed a round.
Do not cross over the guru bead simply change direction and go the other way.
Keep your awareness on devoting the time to the meaning of your prayer, this is not just counting. By focusing on this meaning the prayer transforms from a meaning to a feeling. Furthermore, as you continue, the feeling changes to embodying and from embodying to devotion or commitment. Feel the power of the affirmations you make.
If you are not able to find or have not been given a mantra or image here are some ideas that will help you start. I like to use my breath to keep my attention even more focused. Take one breath in and exhale. Then move on to the next bead.
Insert words that have meaning here is an example
Breath in WARMTH into the body Breath out LOVE into your heart
Breath in STRENGTH from the base of the spine upwards Breath out Calmness washing down like a waterfall.
Breath in I AM VITALL ALIVE Breath out I AM HEALING
Breath in in HEALING Breath out SENDING TO [NAME]
Breath in PATIENCE Breath out – PAUSE and go to the end of the breath out notice the longer pauses
Breath in SO and Breath out HAM (and vice versa) I am …that
- Each Mala comes with its own little OM bag so you can keep them safe and for your hands only.
- Love and cherish the beads and keep them nearby, you can wear them around your neck or on your wrist.
- Mala beads are personal and over time will develop deep meaning so keeping them safe is important.
We really do hope you enjoy your Mala Beads...
Judy and the team at Yoga United