What are Mala Beads

WHAT ARE MALA BEADS?

A mala necklace is a sequence of beads used in Hinduism and Buddhism for the spiritual practice known as Japa, or Japa Meditation. The Sanskrit word Japa means “to utter in a low voice, repeat internally” and it’s the meditative repetition of a mantra. These magical beads have been used for centuries as a tool for meditation.

Each bead on the mala helps you keep count of your mantra or to simply count your breath while meditating. They provide something tactile to come back to when your mind starts to wander. Rolling the beads through your fingers is a physical way to direct your energy and attention. It is a gentle reminder to reground and refocus every few seconds.

HISTORY OF MALA BEADS

The significance of beaded jewelry has been a part of humanity since the beginning of our time here on the Earth. Beads have been used throughout our history as talismans for protection, amulets for luck, status symbols for wealth and authority, spiritual and religious tools, and as a form of barter. 

It was around the 8th century BCE when the ancient seers of India began to use beads to assist with their meditations and prayer. The beads would come to be known as “mala beads” or “prayer beads”. 

As time went on, many other religions started using prayer beads within their religious practices and mala prayer beads became common in China, Korea, Tibet, Japan and Greek. Eventually, prayer beads extended into Europe during the late Middle Age in the form of Catholic rosaries. Needless to say, there’s a long history of beads being used to connect with the world on a spiritual level.  

Mala beads have been used by yogis and spiritual seekers for thousands of years to help keep their minds focused during a special style of meditation called Japa, which means, “to recite”.
 

In recent years, it has become more common for non-religious individuals to wear and use mala beads. Some different uses of mala beads are:

  • to count or chant a mantra
  • provide grounding while meditating
  • gemstone energy for balancing the chakras
  • manifesting intentions and goals
  • setting positive affirmation
  • Worry beads for anxiety
  • Yoga practice 

WHAT ARE THEY MADE OF? 

A traditional Japa mala is made of 108 beads, a Guru bead and a tassel. A true sign of a traditionally crafted mala, is overhand knotting not only makes the mala stronger, it also provides the perfect space for your finger to move easily over each bead during the  Japa Meditation – a meditation that uses each bead to count a repetition of a mantra. Knots also protect the stone from rubbing against each other. 

108 beads
The 108 beads used can be crystals, gemstones, pearls, rudraksha seeds, sandalwood, rosewood, etc. During meditation, each bead helps you focus on your mantra, affirmation, or prayer.  

Guru bead
The middle bead by the tassel is the guru bead, normally with a different colour and size. This is the start and end of your mala. The Guru Bead is the 109th bead on a mala necklace and is not counted during meditation, it is unique from the rest of the mala.  

The tassel 
Mala Beads are commonly finished with a tassel, often made of silk or cotton and it has a  functional and spiritual meaning. The tassel can also serve a secondary purpose of diffusing your favorite essential oils to add an additional element of de-stressing.  All our tassels are made of 100% cotton.

    WHY 108 BEADS?

    The number 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism, Buddhism and yogic tradition. There are many reasons behind the 108 mythology in mala beads. That’s why we like to believe the significance of 108 beads on your mala necklace is open to interpretation.

    • Through the lens of astronomy, the diameter of the sun is approximately 108 times that of Earth.
    • In the field of Ayurveda, there are 108 sacred points, or marmas, in the body, identifying intersections of matter and consciousness. When manipulated, these points can awaken and align the vital energy. 
    • In the Vedic tradition, 108 denotes the wholeness of the universe: one represents the solar masculine, zero represents the lunar feminine and eight represents the infinite nature of all things.
    • There is also a relation with the Chakras, the 7 energy points of our body. There are believed to be 108 energy lines connecting to the heart and a single path to self-realization
    • The Sanskrit alphabet consists of 54 letters, each letter has a male and a female version, or a total of 108 letters.
    • Through the lens of astrology, there are also 12 zodiac houses and 9 planets. When 12 is multiplied by 9, the answer is 108.

    HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MALA? 

    Choosing your mala is a beautiful and very personal process. There is no wrong way to do it, it is a journey of inner discovery. Being clear about your intention and trusting your intuition are the two most powerful ways to choose your mala. 

    INTENTION
    When thinking of what type of mala to choose you may want to consider what your intentions are in using your mala. What goals are you currently focused on? Do you want to manifest self-love, peace, abundance, creativity, grounding, courage in your life?

    INTUITION
    Using your intuition can be a powerful way to choose your bad. Sometimes called the sixth sense, presentiment or hunch can be very useful when choosing your bad.

    GEMSTONE
    Since antiquity, crystals of all kinds have served as protective amulets and a source of power. Gemstone and crystals each have their own unique energy signature and properties that you can attune with your own personal energy. 

    COLOUR
    Colour carries meaning for each of us and emotions have long been associated with colour. There is an entire psychology behind how we interact with colour based on our mental and emotional needs.