Mala Beads are so much more than a beautiful spiritual adornment. They are a powerful tool for your meditation practice. They have been used for thousands of years by the great sages, rishis and layperson alike, across different cultures and creeds and are a universal symbol of spiritual devotion.
So how do you actually USE a 108 Japa Mala? It can be as simple as holding the beads in your hand during meditation and allowing the vibrational and healing energy of the materials to work their way in to your aura. By heightening your own vibration you therefore increase your manifestation effectiveness.
I personally wear my malas as jewellery, and receive the benefits of the sacred materials throughout the day. The symbolism alone gives me reason for pause to appreciate and honour the age-old tradition that I carry with me. I can simply reach down hold them, run them through my fingers and immediately I am brought back to my centre - brought back to the present.
If a traditional approach is your goal, then the simple instructions below can be followed to enjoy a seated japa mala meditation.
Using your mala in a traditional japa mala meditation practice.
This is how malas have been used since their inception. It is said they were traditionally created for use by the layperson, as “they were a way of adapting monastic discipline to the limits and demands of nonmonastic life." . So although monks now use malas, you can still embrace them fully in the knowing that they were originally created for you and me, the simple household person seeking support for our devotional practice. So here's how you use them:
- Prepare yourself for meditation - Get comfortable, close your eyes and breathe deeply, preferably from your nose and in to your diaphragm.
- Set a personal, positive, simple and specific intention in your mind. For example "I am loved", "I am confident and at peace with my life". Or you may have a favourite mantra, eg: Om Mani Padme Hum, or Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha.
- Take the mala beads in your right hand. Starting at the guru bead (but do not count it), repeat your intention/mantra a single time for each bead as you run them through your fingers. So by the time you get back to the guru bead, you have repeated your mantra 108 times.
Remember, meditation takes practice and is a gentle process. Be kind to yourself and allow the mala beads to support you.
Why are malas so effective for a meditation practice?
The reason mala beads are considered so effective for meditation is because repeating a mantra allows you to focus your mind on a single, positive path. In my work I come across so many people who say "I'm not very good at meditating because I can't empty my mind". The Yoga Sutras say “Through sustained focus and meditation on our patterns, habits and conditioning, we gain knowledge and understanding of our past and of how we can change the patterns that aren’t serving us to live more freely and fully…” So you see, meditation’s goal is not to empty your mind, but to become mindful of the thoughts that do run through and change the negative thoughts to lessons and understanding. Add a mantra to this in practice, and you have a focused INTENTION that not only fills your mind with sacred and powerful vibration, but will work to reprogram your previously negative thought patterns in to positive! BOOM!
Also, the number of beads – 108 + 1 – is no mistake. This number is considered very significant from various numerological theories…It is said there are 108 energy fields that lead to the heart. Dharmic culture believe there are 108 kleshas, or emotional afflictions to overcome in order to reach enlightenment. And Vedic tradition says 108 is the number of all existence….It is the number that defines a mala. Using this number in your meditations super-charges your practice to reach cosmic heights of growth, understanding and positive change.
You can read more about mala beads here. Now that you have a little bit more information, I truly hope you can find a mala that can serve you in your practice. Click the image below for our complete collection of mala beads. And if there is nothing quite right, please do contact me to create your perfect custom piece.
After writing this blog I was sent this video of Octavio Salvado of The Practice Bali and he beautifully puts in to video all that I am trying to express here in words. I highly recommend checking him out! Enjoy, and namaste!