What is a Mala?
A mala (otherwise known as a japa mala) is a string of 108 beads typically used for meditation, yoga, spiritual practice, to remind oneself of an intention, or worn as jewelry. Malas, or Buddhist prayer beads, have been used for centuries and are a great aid to meditation and a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Our malas are made using semi precious gemstone beads, 1 guru bead and a handmade silk tassel. I lovingly knot each mala by hand in South Africa before they are cleansed with sage and palo santo and sent to you with love.
It is said that there are 108 earthly desires and 108 lies humans tell, and 108 energy lines that meet at the heart chakra and one that ascends to the crown chakra, which represents the path of enlightenment. There are many astrological correspondences with the number 108. The distance from the Earth to the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. It is a sacred number in many faiths, and even plays importance in martial arts and in literature.
What is a guru bead?
A guru bead (also known as sumera or mero bead) represents the Divine, God, or one’s Teacher. It is disrespectful to cross the guru bead during meditation, as it is equivalent to stepping on one’s teacher. Instead, when you reach the guru bead during meditation, you must just turn around and go the other way on the mala.
How to use a Mala
Of course, it is yours to do with as you like, but here are some suggestions for caring for your mala.
You can use the beads to keep count of your mantra while meditating, simply hold the mala to absorb its energy during spiritual practice, or you can wear the mala around your neck or wrist as jewellry.
To use the mala for counting mantras, hold the mala loosely in the left hand. Gently slide the beads between the middle finger and the thumb, avoiding using the pointer finger because it represents the ego.
As malas absorb and retain energy, It is best to use each mala for only one mantra. It is also recommended not to share malas with another person.
I like to keep my mala stored in a soft cloth bag while not in use to retain my meditative energy.
You can cleanse the mala with sage smoke, palo santo, or under the light of a full moon.
What is a mantra?
A mantra is a word or phrase repeated during meditation. A quick google search can help you find the perfect mantra and some commonly used mantras are listed on this website:
Choosing a Mala
In my experience, choosing any stone is an intuitive process. If I am particularly attracted to a stone then I assume I need some of its healing properties in my life.
The same holds true for malas. You can generally trust that whichever mala you like best holds something that you need.
It is also possible to read the descriptions and choose a mala that enhances qualities you are looking for.
I am also happy to make a custom mala if you have a particular stone or set of stones in mind, or alternatively, are looking for a specific healing property.