What is a Mala?
The beautiful, light mala is a garland or necklace for prayer and meditation. It’s a great tool that can help you focus and deepen your meditation practice. Traditionally, a mala has 108 beads and one big guru bead. In the western world, malas have also become a gorgeous accessoire to complement your yoga outfit. That’s quite handy as you’ll always carry your meditation tool with you.
Why is the mala made of 108 beads exactly? In this case, 1 stands for God, the universe or your own highest power and truth. 0 stands voor humility in your spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity and timelessness. For many yogis, the mala is a sign of love and luck, making it a great gift for others as well. The big guru bead is a sign of gratitude to all spiritual teachers and leaders. Just like you choose your own mantra that fits your individual needs, you may also give the mala your own special meaning. In the end, you’re the one that “charges” the beads with your energy.
How to use a mala
There are different ways to use a mala. The most well-known is the mantra or japa meditation. Choose a mantra, an intention for your meditation practice. Follow your instinct and choose a mantra that feels right for you in that moment. If you need some inspiration, you can learn more about how mantras work here. Alternatively, you can also choose a chant.
Hold the mala in your right hand and drape it over your middle finger. Use your middle finger and thumb to find the first bead next to the guru bead. Recite your mantra, and then move on to the next bead. Repeat your mantra with every bead, 108 times. Keep going until you reach the guru bead: use this for a moment of silence and reflection. Could you use a longer meditation? Don’t go over the guru bead, but turn around and begin again, reciting your mantra with every bead.
Our own Urban Goddess Tanisha shows you how it works here.
Made in Nepal