Mala beads aren’t just beautiful pieces of jewelry—they are also important mediums for peace and enlightenment.
Traditionally, the beads have been used in prayer and meditation. But don’t let that intimidate you. Anyone can wear mala beads, whether you meditate or not. Often, people are drawn to the necklaces for their believed healing qualities of calming the mind and providing inner peace.
You can wear them around your wrist, your neck, hang them at your altar, or meditate on them.
If you choose to meditate on your mala, you will most likely use a mantra. A mantra is a word, sound or phrase repeated to aid in your concentration. It can be as simple as the word ‘love,’ something you are thankful for, or a phrase such as ‘Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,’ which represents all-encompassing peace.
Counting Your Mantras
To count your mantras, hold your mala in your hand and turn each bead with your thumb and middle finger. (The index finger is believed to represent ‘ego’ and is not recommended to be used to turn the beads.)
Going all the way around your mala, you will eventually reach the guru bead — the bead that dangles from the mala. This signals a time for reflection. Never continue over the guru bead. Instead, turn around and continue in the opposite direction.
It’s widely believed that when one uses a Mala for meditation, and makes it all the way around, they will have found enlightenment.
Some Malas have different counts. Ours have 108, as that’s a very traditional and sacred number. They are also hand-knotted between each seed and gemstone to help aid in meditation.
If you choose to meditate on your mala, be patient and kind to yourself.
Remember—mala beads embody calmer mind, body, and spirit, no matter your reason for turning to them.
For more, watch our video below on How to use mala beads for japa meditation.
This article was written by Mala Collective founder and journalist, Ashley Wray.