The mala is an ancient spiritual tool that’s been used for thousands of years to help keep an accurate count of mantras recited during a meditation. The mala is made up of gemstones or beads that become infused with the energy that’s channeled into them through a mantra repetition. By creating a special mala necklace or bracelet worn directly on the skin, you can keep the energetic properties of the beads close to you. Mala jewelry has become a physical symbol of spirituality worn proudly around the necks and wrists of spiritual devotees.
The Makeup of a Mala
Traditionally, a mala has 108 beads, but you can use factors of 108, such as 18, 27, 36, or 54, to make a shorter mala that can be worn as a bracelet. (Necklace malas are typically used for longer mantra repetitions.)
Also with tradition, sandalwood, rudraksha, or tulsi beads are used in malas; however, any gemstone that has the energetic properties you’d like to enhance (i.e., aventurine to attract luck, success and wealth) is highly encouraged.
The guru bead is the bead that the tassel will attach directly to. The guru bead symbolizes the student-guru relationship and is to be respected. When using a mala for mantra repetition, you will never skip over the guru bead.
The tassel is the cluster of string at the bottom of the mala. Each strand of the tassel is an extension of the cords that bind the necklace together and our connection to the divine and one another.
The Medicine of a Mantra
What is a Mantra?
A mantra can be absolutely anything you want it to be.
Sanskrit mantras are what is taught when one begins to learn mantra meditation. Contrary to popular belief, you can use any positive word or phrase that brings peace and comfort to you. You can use a prayer, a positive affirmation, a poem or a sentence that feeds your soul. Choose uplifting words that can be applied to your personal life and then integrated into a meditation practice. It can also be something that you make up. The goal of a mantra is to help aid in concentration and the practice of meditation. Mantras can be written, sung, chanted aloud or silently.
The Medicine of a Mala
The Medicine of the mala is that it brings calm and slows the production of the hormone cortisol. It allows the practitioner to release pent up anger, anxiety, sadness, and stress.