Using Your Mala
Mala beads are an ancient tool traditionally used in prayer and meditation for thousands of years. Primarily used in mantra meditation, also known as Japa, they can enhance your practice by helping you disconnect from any thoughts that arise during meditation, keep you focused on your intention and access higher states of consciousness. They are a powerful source of mindfulness, enlightenment and inner peace. If you choose to meditate on your Mala, here are some steps to guide you in your practice.
Choose a Mantra
When using your Mala in meditation, it is likely that you will be using a mantra. A mantra is a word, sound or phrase that is repeated either silently or aloud to aid in concentration and help to keep focus. You can choose to recite a mantra in their ancient Sanskrit form such as "Om mani padme hum" or you can create your own Mantra that signifies your highest intention or you can simply use an affirmation like "I accept love" or "I am strong".
How to meditate with your Mala
Start by holding your Mala between your thumb and middle finger (the index finger is not recommended to use as it represents your 'ego'). Place your thumb on the bead to the right of the Guru bead and gently pull the bead towards you over your middle finger, moving to the next bead while reciting your mantra.
If this is your first time using a Mala, you may wish to begin with focusing on your breathe. On each bead take a deep breathe in and out then move to the next bead. Once you feel comfortable with this, on each bead, along with your breath, try repeating your mantra to yourself. Using an affirmation mantra as an example, on each bead inhale "I am" and exhale "patient".
Continue moving through the beads for each mantra or breathe until you have reached the Guru bead and have completed 108 repetitions. Upon reaching the Guru bead, this signifies a time for reflection. You can give thanks to your Mala beads and mantra, reflect on your meditation practice or show yourself gratitude for allowing yourself this time to meditate. If you wish to continue meditating, turn around and proceed in the opposite direction. Do not continue over the Guru bead.
Meditation takes consistent practice so be patient and kind to yourself. No doubt your mind will wander and you will have good days and bad days. Accepting this is part of the meditation journey. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Acknowledge that your mind has wandered off and return your focus back to your Mala beads and mantra. Remember, it is a practice so allow yourself the time to meditate.
If you are using and wearing your Mala regularly, you may want to cleanse and clean it from time to time. Find out how to care for your Mala to extend its lifespan.