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Malas: Understanding, Choosing, & Using Them for Your Spiritual Practice

Malas: Understanding, Choosing, & Using Them for Your Spiritual Practice

Malas, also known as Buddhist prayer beads, are strings of beads used in prayer or meditation to keep track of mantras being repeated. By holding a mala between the thumb and forefinger, one can easily count the number of mantras repeated, breaths taken, or repetitions on the 108 beads.

Each part of a mala is symbolic and meaningful. They are most typically made using 108 beads – a sacred number symbolizing many different things in Buddhist philosophy- a guiding bead called a guru, and sometimes a decorative tassel or other charms. The cord running through the beads symbolizes the thread of Life.

The material used to make mala beads can vary according to the purpose or intention of the mala. Malas are crafted with beads made of a variety of materials, including sandalwood, rosewood, rudraksha (or Bodhi) seeds, rattan seeds, pearls, shells, or coral. They can also be created with a variety of gemstones to match the intention set by the wearer.

Malas are considered a sacred and beautiful piece of art that should be treated with respect. Some cultures believe you should never set your mala on the ground, or let others touch it. However, we believe that everyone’s spiritual practice is unique and thus, you should do what feels most right to you.

When choosing a mala, you should use your intuition to guide you to the material or stone that will best serve your intention. If a mala appeals to you, trust that it is the one you need for where you are right now. You can choose one based on the stone used, such a dark, black, red, or brown stone to focus on grounding, or a lighter colored, white, clear, purple, or gold stone to focus on your intuition and higher chakras.

To wear or display a mala, you can wear it as a necklace, bracelet, or keep it on a shrine to remind you of your intentions. It is believed that the more you wear a mala, the more positive energy is created.

To use a mala during meditation, first clarify your intention. Close your eyes and breathe deeply as you focus on your mantra or intention. Hold the mala in your right hand between the thumb and forefinger, middle finger, or ring finger. As you recite your mantra or count your breaths, move the thumb from the starting (guru) bead clockwise around the entire string. When you reach the guru stone again, you may turn the mala around and move in the opposite direction.

When you are not using your mala, store it near other crystals or in a cotton, linen, velvet, or silk bag.

To purchase a mala, click here to view our selection! >