Mala is a crucial part of Hindu tradition. It remained immensely valuable in spiritual practice around 3000 years ago. However, Mala is used as a loop of prayer beads, Mala is much more than a pretty necklace. It is an incredibly healing, protection and manifestation tool, often used during yoga practice or meditation.
Furthermore, it could make all the difference and help you with your intentions and focus. So, what are Mala Bead meanings, and how can these beautiful beads transform your life?
What are Mala Beads?
Mala beads, or Japa Mala beads, are worn as a piece of ancient spiritual jewelry that commonly used in Indian religions. Moreover, Mala Beads are a tool for meditation and personal development that act like prayer beads. You have a series of 108 beads made from seeds, wood, gemstones, or other materials on a cord. There is a larger bead on the end, called the Guru or Meru bead, that brings the smaller beads together, and often a tassel at the knot.
The Origins and History of Mala Beads
The origin of Malas lies in Indian traditions around 3000 years ago. They were used in spiritual rituals to help users gain enlightenment and better practice - something that continues to this day.
The Mala has strong ties to religion, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. An alternative name for the Mala is the Buddhist prayer bead. The Mala is an important tool for counting breaths and mantras during prayer and meditation, and the structure has important ties to Buddhist beliefs.
There are 108 stones and one larger Guru stone. This Guru represents a connection to the divine presence helping us through our sessions. In this case, that is a Buddhist teacher or Buddha himself. In modern uses, it could be Mother Nature, The Universe, or any other core part of personal faith.
Why do Malas have 108 beads?
Knowing how many beads are in Mala is crucial. Each Mala counts exactly 108 beads, a sacred number in Hinduism, Buddhism and Yoga. It represents a circle of spells.
These mala beads are designed to focus attention on the repetition of a prayer or mantra, helping the practitioner maintain coordination with the body while chanting. The meaning of the Mala necklace has to do with the idea that each bead has a repeated mantra.
There is the belief that there are 108 stages of the human journey and 108 energy lines in the body that connect at the heart chakra. So, an authentic full Mala has 108 beads and then the Guru at the end.
Meanings and Benefits of Mala Beads
Gain Positive Energy
It is said that the central bead collects the energy generated during meditation or prayer and then accompanies us when we wear it.
Before learning how to wear Mala beads, and for what purpose, it's essential to know that they can be made from various healing gems, or other spiritual elements. They all can amplify the energy of mala in unique ways.
Potent Spiritual Tools
Touching each mala bead repeatedly helps to soothe the mind. The Mala prayer beads are used to help practice mindfulness and strengthen our connection in both physically and mentally. Therefore, it can amplify the power of the mantra and strengthen our intentions. Moreover, the Mala beads help you awaken and enhance your spiritual growth.
Mala Beads Meanings: Choosing The Right Color
Color is crucial whether you want a semi-precious stone, a painted seed, or DIY clay beads. Color psychology plays an important role in the choice of beads, especially if you prefer semi-precious stones. Keep the following in mind.
1) Black is a popular color for protection and success. You can help to enhance personal development with deep Black Onyx beads.
2) Blue is perfect for evoking peace and relaxation if you struggle to find inner calm. Using Blue Aventurine can help further by balancing your emotions.
3) Red is a lucky color that also symbolizes power and bravery. Use red beads to build confidence and consider Red Jasper to boost courage in tough times.
4) Brown has strong ties to nature and the earth and is great for grounding and stability. You could opt for wood here, but Tiger's Eye is popular for a range of beneficial properties.
5) Green also relates to nature to a point, but also tied to personal growth and development. Those that need to heal in hard times can benefit from using Green Jade beads for luck and harmony.
6) Purple is one of the most spiritual colors and has links to the realm of sleep and unconscious states. We can use purple beads to help open the third eye, and Amethyst is especially helpful.
7) Yellow is related to creativity and clarity when you struggle for inspiration. Citrine is especially good here for self-expression.
8) Orange is very similar in terms of creativity and ambition, and Carnelian can motivate and build success here.
10) White is an interesting alternative option for purity via Clear Quartz.
How to Use Mala Beads
Nowadays, Mala beads play an essential role in various spiritual practices across the world. Once you have a Mala that you love and want to use regularly, you need to learn the best methods.
Hold on Hand
Many people prefer them in their hands, so it is easier to run their fingers over the beads. Let the garland drape gently, hold the bead between your fingers, and pass the string through as you work bead by bead.
There is some confusion over how you are meant to hold a Mala bead during this process. For religious reasons, those who do so tend to use their thumb and middle finger because the index finger relates to the ego. Therefore, using the index finger could make it harder to reach enlightenment.
However, you may find it much more comfortable to use your index finger if you are using a Mala for personal and mental health reasons rather than spiritual. Do what feels right and help you get the best results.
Alternatively, you can wear the Mala as a necklace and work through the beads as it hangs from your neck. That could be more comfortable if you like to wear the Mala this way at all times. It also places your hand and the beads closer to your lungs and heart as you exhale or say mantras.
According to the old traditions, Mala bracelet should be worn on the right wrist. Because it carries the wearer's energy, it can only come into contact with its own skin.
However, there's no right or wrong on how to wear Mala beads. Choosing the left or right wrist is up to you. Furthermore, the mala beads are too long, you can use wrap them several times around your wrist.
How To Improve Your Life By Using Mala Beads
Mala Beads have a connection with spiritual energy and the Divine on multiple levels. During spiritual practices, it offers continuous energetic support.
Here are some ideas on how to wear Mala beads to improve your life.
Support Your Intentions
When setting attention, you can wear the mala beads to amplify your power. Every time you chant and move your fingers across the beads, every bead will help you get in touch with your purpose. Help you focus on the intention and bring into the universe.
Try This to Attain Your Goal:
- Use incense, sage, or crystal singing bowls to cleanse the space of you.
- Sit comfortably, as if you're in a cozy situation. The Sunlight is surrounding you.
- At this moment, you can also simply hold the mala beads in your hands. Chanting with your attention and move your fingers across the Mala beads.
Meditation with Mala Beads
Meditation is one of the ways to take advantage of the healing properties of Mala Beads. Meditation practice can be intimidating and difficult at first as your mind wanders off and you lose your focus.
The physical act of interacting with the beads allows for grounding and greater focus. Working bead to bead also provides a sense of repetition and rhythm that many find helpful.
There are two options common approaches here. The first is to work through a series of 108 breaths. You can inhale as you touch the first bead, play with it in your fingers as you exhale, and then move on to the next bead.
Repeat until you get to the guru bead at the end for a more relaxing session. If needed, you can go back the other way if you want to extend the session.
However, 108 breaths or chants is a lot for one session if you lack focus or confidence. 27 is a lot more manageable in a short mental health break. You can always start with a bracelet of 27 beads and work up to a 108 bead Mala at a later date.
The alternative approach is to say a mantra or affirmation with each bead. Again, it is all about the repetition and deeper focus on your message and intention.
For example, you could be dealing with a stressful day or some anxiety. Sitting with the Mala and repeating "this to shall pass" as you work through the beads could be very helpful. You don't need to say it out loud if you don't want to.
Don't forget that practice makes perfect. You can't expect a clear mind and a sudden sense of enlightenment on the first try. The simple act of sitting and breathing is enough, and any additional gains are a bonus. The more you try, the easier it gets.
At the same time, you will get a stronger connection to your beads. Malas are also said to absorb the vibrational energy created during your practice and reflect that back. Over time, they can become more in tune with your thoughts and desires and more powerful tools.
Mala Beads Meditation Mantras
Apart from Sanskrit syllables that help deepen the grounding, there are also many mantras that can help you on your spiritual journey.
If you would like to know how to choose your mala beads to set your intentions, think about the Mantras you want to use.
Some mantras for your purpose:
- I am supported by the Universe.
- I am divinely protected.
- I am protected with a Mala bead necklace.
- I am powerful.
- I am divinely guided.
- I am on the right path.
Make Your Own Mala Beads
If all of this has you curious about bringing a Mala into your practice, you might want to consider making your own. There are lots of makers out there with great designs and helpful gemstones and seed beads. But, there is something powerful in making a personalized Mala at home.
Creative types that make their own Malas talk about this being a calming and meditative experience in itself. Make sure to consider the following.
1) The size of the Mala.
Do you want to try and make all 108 beads and the Guru bead, or are you going to start with one of the smaller half Malas?
2) The form and color of the beads.
You could source beads from preferred gemstones or make your own beads from wood or clay. That clay could be pre-colored polymer clay or something you paint yourself. That allows you to bring in various designs and colors that suit your needs. For example, if you feel you need help with personal growth, but also value protection, you could make it black and green.
3) The design of the guru bead.
Handmade personalized Malas also means you can make your own Guru bead with a symbolic meaning. You could craft something into the shape of a spirit animal, a symbol related to a natural element, a zodiac sign, or anything else you can think of. You could also use a charm or jewelry item from someone you treasure. The options are endless.
4) The cord.
Finally, you need a good strong cord or chain to bring them all together. Natural materials are always a good idea. Think about the way that the knot will feel and look against the beads.
How to Care for Your Mala Beads
Finally, it is important to know how to look after your Mala. That is a precious tool for self-development as well as beautiful jewelry. Therefore, you need to treat it with respect. It is a good idea to keep your Mala in a box or pouch if you aren't planning or wearing it all the time. That will keep the worst of the dust and dirt out.
If you prefer to wear it all the time for protection and comfort, you may have to clean it now and then. Be careful wiping the beads and getting in between them to deal with any dirt and grime. Don't use chemical soap that might damage the material.
Also, be careful when applying water if the beads are porous. It is best to clean infrequently, so the oils and energy stay intact for a more powerful Mala. But, this shouldn't be so infrequently that the Mala becomes obscured or unhygienic.
Is it Bad if a Mala Bead Breaks?
Not necessarily. The downside here is that you have one less bead in that symbolic set of 108 for your practice. However, some believe that a broken bead is a sign that the Mala is working. It is encouraging you to break your pattern and change your mantra because you have grown beyond its need. Take it as a sign of growth and work on a new manta.
Bring Mala beads into your meditation practice to enhance your experience. As you can see, the potential of a Mala goes far beyond looking pretty. These stunning pieces could make a big difference to your meditation and spiritual practices. Take your time to find the styles and colors for the best Mala Beads meanings and treasure this new part of your ritual.