What Is A Mala?

Mala Header

The word ‘mala’ is often used now as the terminology for a prayer bead and tool for meditation.

In Hinduism, malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This sādhanā (practice) is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads. In Tibetan Buddhism, malas of 108 beads are used.

However, with the influence of yoga in Western society and a huge interest in meditation and mindfulness, a mala does not ‘have’ to have a religious attachment.

It is simply a very special meditation tool which usually is made from stones, crystals, various holy/sacred woods or seeds all of which carry certain energies.

A mantra or set of words are recited either out loud, in one’s head or even sung, which can be a ‘traditional mantra’, sometimes in said in Sanskrit or your own choice of words, this can be just one word or a set of words.  The idea with this is that the mantra is said with the intention of setting the words into place, which not only has an internal energetic influence within oneself but also sets out into the Universe the intended prayer or set of positive words.

The beads help the practitioner to keep track of their place as they move through the meditation practice moving the beads between their thumb and middle finger, never letting the beads touch the index finger, as this finger represents the ego and to touch the beads to it would show disrespect.

The 109th bead is called a Guru bead and is said to represent your teacher and the most important people in your life, to which you give gratitude.

Reciting a mantra 108 might sound like a lot of times, but for example, reciting the very well used mantra Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, takes under five minutes, so it is a very easily daily practice to integrate into your daily life.

The first word Om is a sacred syllable found in Indian Religions.  The word Mani means “jewel” or “bead”, Padme is the “lotus flower”  (the Buddhist sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit  of enlightenment ie

The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus

You can find more here on this particular mantra:  Sacred Texts

You might ask why 108 beads?  108 is said to be an auspicious number in Mathematics, Religions, Spiritual Practices, Martial Arts and Yoga.

  • For instance, there are 108 energy lines that converge to form the Heart Chakra.
  • The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
  • There are 108 Goddess names.
  • The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the sun.
  • There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, each has a Masculine and Feminine form, Sive and Shakta – 54 times 2 – 108
  • Even the pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter
  • The powerful Sri Chakra yantra intersects in 54 points each with a masculine and feminine quality, totaling 108 and so on…

Your mala is usually a keepsake and one can have more than one mala, as they tend to represent different aspects of one’s needs and hold their own individual energy, so, therefore, one day you might find you are drawn to one and not another.  However, there is nothing wrong either with having one mala for life.

These days malas are often worn as an adornment rather than for a practice, Aurora Facets malas fall into both categories, both being beautiful to the eye but also energetically holding their own space to work with their Owner.

The core of my work is making bespoke malas for people.  Most of my non-bespoke ones are one off’s but bespoke malas are not repeated as they are specifically made by me channeling into the needs of the person and Spirit in order to manifest a collection of beads that will work to the ultimate good of their to be Spirit Owner.

Here are a small selection of malas made by Aurora Facets

Mala beads will help to calm the mind, body, and soul and are a reminder when you just have them around of a better way of being.

There are no hard and fast rules on whether to be seated, lying down or even standing when using your mala, but traditionally one would have been seated during meditation.

Within your yoga practice, however, it is nice to place your mala at the top of your mat as a reminder of your intention as you move through your asana and wearing the Mala next to your skin helps manifest the power of the stones and keeps you as one together with your Spiritual tool.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on Aurorafacets@gmail.com

Meanwhile wishing you well with happiness, Justine xxx