What are Mala Beads?

Mala Beads are beautiful and sacred. They can be used for meditation or worn as talismans for ones own spiritual journey or path. Wearing them consistently can bring a beautiful connection with the Divine into daily life and often serve as a reminder to stay true to yourself, to go inward for alignment, and to train the mind to stay focused on the present moment.

Today Mala Beads can be used for cultivating mindfulness and a more conscious way of living. Working with and wearing them can also be incorporated with the healing practices of yoga, mindfulness, charka balancing, affirmations, astrology, psychic attunement, aromatherapy, intention setting, manifestation and much more! 

Mala Beads Terminology

  • Mala: means garland
  • Bead: comes from anglo saxon term bede which means to pray.
  • Sutra: the thread that holds everything together representing oneness or the comic energy that connects all beings and the Universe together.
  • Knots between Beads: represents challenge or adversity and also hold the Mala together and make it stronger.
  • Guru Bead or (Pendant Stone): guru means teacher and this stone represents a state of transcendental consciousness and the overall goal of the meditation practice.
  • Tassel or (finishing strings next to the pendant stone): a Buddhist symbol representing the roots of the lotus flower symbolizing rising from the mud. It also represents our connection with all beings and the Divine.
  • Japa Meditation: means to repeat internally, utter in a low voice, to chant. 108 beads: in the Hindu philosophy the number 108 represents creation, the Universe, and all existence. In Buddhist philosophy it refers to the number of passions 108 that one is trying to put an end to.
  • 108 in Astrology:  this number connects with the 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 x 9 = 108. The number 108 also connects in the Sun, Moon, and Earth with the average distance to the each being 108 times their individual diameters.
  • 108 in Ayurveda: there are believed to be 108 marma or pressure points on the body. 
  • Mantra: a sacred utterance or phrase, often in Sanskrit. Manas means mind, tra means tool.

The Importance of 108 in Yoga

The significance of 108 in the practice of yoga is that there are 108 asanas or poses that are practiced on special occasions or times of change such as the passage of seasons, to welcome the new year, at times of adversity or reflection, and pranayama is often completed in cycles of 108. Sun salutations are often performed in 9 rounds of 12 postures totaling 108.

Practicing Japa Meditation with Mala Beads

When chanting with a mantra the rhythmic cadence of the phrase becomes a vehicle for focusing the mind during meditation practice. To incorporate a mala into this process you simply pass the beads through the thumb and middle finger on each repetition to keep track of the number of mantras chanted.