What is the origin of mala beads?
Sometimes known as Buddhist prayer beads, mala beads are long necklace-type tools traditionally used for mantra practice and meditation. They have a deep connection to mental grounding and help opening the mind to spirituality. They are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various religions and referred as a “rosary”.
They are originally made of Rudraksha, natural seeds found in Malaysia, Nepal, India and South East Asia. Rudraksha is believed to be the 3rd eye of Lord Shiva. Those beads have some incredible benefits on life and health. They have a major effect on the heart chakra and hence, regulates the blood pressure They also bring stability to the entire system of the human body.
Nowadays mala beads can also be made of a variety of natural gemstones or wood beads which provide specific energy properties and personal significance.
What are the benefits of using mala beads?
The mala beads have the power to control your stress, charge your soul, give you clarity and focus, protect you from negative energy. They also have health benefits.
How can you use your mala beads?
The mala beads are traditionally used to repeat a mantra (Japa) but it can also be as simple as chanting Om or recite a personal intention, accomplishment or desire. Mala beads necklaces typically have 108 beads (a sacred number which represents spiritual completion) plus a single “guru” bead to signify the beginning and end of a count cycle.
- Seat comfortably with your spine straight, your eyes closed and hold your mala in one hand
- Start off with three deep, clearing breaths to center and align yourself in your intention
- Envision light surrounding your mala and say or visualize your intention
- Starting at the guru bead, turn each bead between your thumb and middle finger, pulling it toward you as you recite your mantra
- Travel around the mala until you once again reach the guru bead. You’ll be reciting 108 times
- When you reach the Guru bead, you take a pause to give thanks to your Guru or to dedicate your meditation to someone
There is no need to be religious or have a spiritual practice to wear mala beads. If meditation is not part of your practise, you can simply wear it to reconnect to your breath and to the personal intention you have set, or when seeking a calmer mind, body and spirit.
Using mala beads as cues for breathing can also help you to bring more intention and concentration to your pranayama practice.
How to choose your mala beads?
It is as simple as following your intuition and picking the one you are spontaneously drawn to. Once you’ve chosen a mala, you can investigate the meaning of the gemstones and intention with which the mala was designed. Surprisingly you’ll notice that the one you selected has the qualities you may be working on or trying to cultivate into your life.
The mala that you are attracted to is the one for you; it’s as simple as that.
Every gemstone and crystal is said to have its own unique energy and meaning.
- Agate is a stone bringing emotional, physical and intellectual balance
- Citrine is the stone of life, sun and life. It corresponds to the Solar plexus Chakra and the parts of the body connected to it. It is supportive of self-confidence and renewed determination
- Jade is a stone symbol of purity and harmony. It helps to stabilize the personality by releasing negative thoughts
- Rose quartz is the crystal of love and peace
How to care for your mala?
Rudraksha, gemstones and crystals are sacred and deserved good care. They vibrate at certain frequencies and amplify the energies you send through them while drawing out negativity from your body.
In order to cleanse your mala beads you can
- Gently wash them with natural soap and warm water
- Bathe them in the natural light of the full moon
- Smudge them with either sage, incense or Palo Santo
After cleansing, you might want to charge your mala beads by leaving them in the sunlight or the moonlight for few hours. The energy of the sun and moon is said to return the beads to their own pure vibration.
Besides being beautiful and energized, using a mala during meditation can help focus your mind and your breath as you move through the practice. Just give a try!