Mala Beads | A Guide

WHAT ARE MALA BEADS?

Traditionally, Mala beads are meditation tools used by sages, yogis, and spiritual seekers for thousands of years. A mala (Sanskrit:माला; mālā, meaning garland) is used to count affirmations, count breaths or recite mantras by chanting, whispering or mental repetition. This practice is known as Japa. Wearing your Mala throughout the day is a beautiful reminder to come back to the present moment, reconnect with your intention, and get an added boost of inspiration from the semi-precious healing stones.

 

ELEMENTS OF A MALA

108 beads

108 has held great significance in many traditions throughout history and connects us to the cosmos, ancient practices of yoga, our energy bodies, and the elements. Here is one of my favourite examples that keeps me connected to the mysteries of the natural world:

  • The sun, moon, and earth: The distance between the earth and the sun is approximately 108 times the sun's diameter. The diameter of the sun is about 108 times the earth's diameter. And the distance between the earth and the moon is 108 times the moon's diameter. WOW!

There are so many interesting reasons why this number has earned its reputation in the world of spirituality, mathematics, and science.  Learn more here.

The Knots

Hand knotting is the traditional way mala beads are crafted. The knot symbolizes the divine link present between all beings. I use the overhand knotting method to strengthen the Mala and provide space between each bead, making it easier for Japa meditation.  

The Guru bead

Almost all malas have an extra, larger bead at the end called the Guru bead, which signals the end of one round in the Mantra/affirmation cycle. The Guru bead is said to represent the teacher/student connection. The guru bead is also said to represent the summer and winter solstices when the sun appears to stop in its course and reverse directions. When completing an entire cycle, one should never cross the guru bead but instead flip the Mala around and continue reciting backward through the beads.

The tassel

The tassel, the final piece built into the Mala, retains the energy generated in each meditation. It is also symbolic of the thousand lotus petals of Sahasrara (the crown chakra of spiritual illumination). Each strand continuously moves and flows, reminding us to surrender to change and trust the process.

 

HOW TO USE YOUR MALA

There are many ways to incorporate the magic of mala beads into your daily life. I like to think of them as tools to infuse a state of presence and mindfulness in everything you do while supporting your overall sense of well-being. Below are a few ways I like to use mine:

Meditation with your mala beads

Whether you are a beginner to meditation or practice regularly, keeping the mind from wandering can be challenging. This is where mala beads come in: as tactile tools to bring your focus back to the present moment. You can use them to count your mantras, affirmations, or breaths. You can also hold them in your hands and receive the subtle healing properties of the gemstones while you sit in silence. We have written a blog post about the details of how to use your Mala for meditation here.

Intention setting

always set an intention when I begin working with a new mala. Think of intention setting as the initiation or first step towards reaching your goals, hopes, or desires.

Setting intentions brings more purpose and direction into your life, inspiring you to take more aligned action. 

Mala beads serve as a physical reminder of your intentions.

*HOT TIP* Once you decide on a specific intention, try using your Mala to count 108 repetitions to connect and charge your Mala energetically with your intention.

Healing properties of the gemstones

Our mala beads are hand-knotted with grade A - AAA gemstones. Gemstones are the most orderly formation in nature and are structured to respond to the different energies, leading them to oscillate, sway, and emit specific vibratory frequencies. Working with the energetics of particular gemstones that resonate with your intention (for example, attracting abundance or enhancing self-love) is as easy as wearing your Mala around your neck or wrist when you need that extra boost. Learn more.

Above all, I want you to know that there is no right or wrong way to use your mala beads. Feel free to get creative and find new ways that resonate if none of the suggestions above do.  

 

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MALA

It may seem tricky or confusing with so many options, but here are a few suggestions that can help you find the perfect piece for you. 

Intuitive connection 

Sometimes you just know. Your intuition or gut feeling can create unexplained connections between you and your Mala. Your intuition can communicate in physical sensations, like butterflies in your stomach, an inner knowing that is not logical, or recurring thoughts about a specific mala. Trust this! This is also an excellent filter to use when gift malas to other people.

Current Intention

Do you have a specific intention in mind? Perhaps you are trying to manifest something in your life, like more abundance. There could be an aspect of self that you want to work on, like confidence or self-love. Maybe you are looking for a talisman to protect you from any negative energies surrounding you lately. Meditating on your intention can help narrow down your perfect Mala.

Magnetic attraction

Sometimes we are magnetically drawn to a specific colour or appearance of a mala. For example, if you plan to wear your Mala regularly, maybe you want to choose one that matches your wardrobe. Or perhaps you have a favourite colour that inspires you or brings you joy!

Gemstone healing

Our mala beads are made with grade A - AAA gemstones that hold a specific energetic vibration. Perhaps you are less interested in the physical appearance of your Mala and more in the healing qualities of the gemstones.

Product description

All our mala beads come with their own names and product description cards. Many people feel inspired after reading them and choose their Mala in this way.

If you have any questions or still need help choosing, I would love to help! Please email me at contact@mylittlemantra.com, and let's choose your Mala!

 

CARING FOR YOUR MALA BEADS

We want you to enjoy your Mala for years to come. Therefore, I recommend you treat your mala beads as sacred objects, whether you're using them for meditation or just wearing them throughout the day. I make each one so I know that the quality and attention to detail are unmatched, but some steps can help keep your Mala in tip-top shape throughout the years.

Storing your Mala

Keeping your Mala in the accompanying box or a Ziplock bag will help keep the precious metals from tarnishing. If any tarnishing occurs, gently polish them with a polishing cloth.

Wearing your Mala

Be gentle when putting on and taking off your mala beads. It should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Avoid getting your Mala wet. Getting your Mala wet will weaken the chord, ruin the tassel, and can damage the gemstones. This includes activities like exercising, swimming or showering.

Cleansing your Mala

Crystals are very effective at absorbing and storing energy, so it is essential to cleanse them regularly to release unwanted, stored energies that don't serve your highest good. Here are the safe cleansing rituals we recommend:

  • Sage or Palo Santo:  Smudging your pieces with their smoke helps cleanse and neutralize any unwanted energies stored in your gemstones.

  • Moonlight:  Leaving your malas on a windowsill in the light of the full moon(to release) or new moon(to set new intentions) is an easy and powerful way to cleanse your gemstones.

  • Reiki:  If you are a Reiki practitioner, this is an easy way to

  • Other cleansing stones:  Three known gemstones never need cleansing and are super effective at purifying other gemstones nearby. These are Citrine, Selenite, and Kyanite. 

  • Sound:  Reverberating sound can be an effective way to cleanse your gemstones. Using a singing bowl, chimes, a tuning fork, or other instruments allows the sound waves to release any old stagnant energy from your mala beads. 

Caring for your tassel

The most effective way to care for your Mala is to keep it wrapped in its original linen fabric when you are not using it. If your tassel needs a little maintenance, wet your fingers, and straighten out the threads. Sometimes the ends can become a bit frayed. If this happens, flatten the tassel between your index and middle fingers and trim the frayed ends with very sharp scissors or shears.

 If you have any questions or still need help choosing, I would love to help! Please email me at contact@mylittlemantra.com, and let's choose your Mala!

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