Why Mala’s are magical meditation savers and require paperclips….
Mala’s are one of my favorite meditation tools. What is a mala? So happy you asked…a mala is a long strand of 108 beads traditionally used for meditation. You will typically see a mala as a bracelet or a necklace. Each bead is used as a counter, you can repeat a mantra or take a deep breath as you move to each bead, you can have one mala or many malas. I like to make my own and set a specific intention as I’m making it.
I’m also a huge fan of creating intentional jewelry – jewelry that has meaning to the person wearing it. I often incorporate this concept into my workshops. Making your own mala, will not only save you money, but you can infuse the mala with the energy or intention you choose as you make it, making the mala even more special. You can do this if you purchase one as well. But, something is super magical about doing it yourself or having a custom one made for you especially when it is infused with the goodness you’re longing for.
Creating a mediation practice:
I tend to think of creating a meditation practice as having layers. The first layer is the “ease in” phase using guided meditations to help your mind slow down & get used to creating time in your life for a new skill. Once you have committed to a consistent guided meditation practice, I recommend moving to second layer – a silent practice. Slowly, a silent practice takes patience & PRACTICE (pun intended, it’s literally why it’s called a practice), so be patient with yourself, even the best meditator has a hard day getting their mind to settle. A mala can make the transition to a silent practice much easier. When malas are combined with a mantra (my personal favorite way) – both the mantra and the mala become tools to help your mind stay focused. Instead of trying to count in your head, the beads count for you so you can remain focused on the mantra and remain in your practice.
How to use a mala:
It’s always best to find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted by twin boys putting legos in your face. (Oh wait that’s just me…anyways…) It is best to sit with your legs crossed, but you can lie down if sitting up is uncomfortable as long as you are not in a position to fall asleep. If sitting on the floor or a yoga mat is uncomfortable try sitting on some pillows or a meditation cushion. You don’t need a shrine to begin a practice, it can be easy and simple, don’t get caught up trying to make everything perfect… just begin. You can add goodies once you are truly committed to your practice and feel drawn to create a special place.
Traditions say to hold the mala in your right hand, between your thumb and middle finger, draping it across your ring finger. Your index finger never touches your mala. Your middle finger holds the strand of beads as your thumb pulls the next bead towards you.
Breathe in deeply, once you are calm, find the guru bead – the largest bead closest to the tassel (or in my case crystal). The guru bead is not a counter bead. It is the beginning and the end. I repeat, You DO NOT use the guru bead to count. The counting begins with the bead next to the guru bead. Take a deep breath in, recite your mantra or your affirmation in your mind, pull the next bead towards you, and repeat.
Once you have gone around the entire mala you will return to the guru bead, you can stop your practice, or you can turn the mala around and repeat the process in the other direction.
Wanna make your own?? Great, here’s how!
I love crystals so I head over to my favorite bead shop in philly Bead Works and let the wall of crystals pull me in. Whatever I gravitate towards, that’s my start, they will have everything you need.
You will need:
1) 108 crystal beads or wooden beads. I prefer rose wood & crystals but whatever draws you in is prefect for you.
2) One: larger bead – guru bead (if you hit up Bead Works they can help you!)
3) One: Tassel or large crystal for the end. The intention is that the tassel or the large crystals displaces the energy. This will dangle below your Guru bead.
With Love, Light & Healing,
Hi, love! My name is Ilia.
And I’ve made it my life’s work to support people going through those moments of transition. Whether it be from woman to mother, chronically ill to alive and mobile, or more subtly, from one way of thinking to another, I hold the space for you to grow. To ask questions. To feel deeply. And to embrace the gifts your life has offered you.