December 10, 2020 4 min read
Are you someone who likes to combine your personal fashion choices with your spiritual tools? It isn't any secret how choosing the most carefully made necklaces and bracelets not only balances your energy but your outfit, too!
Japamalas, often shortened to malas, are beads used for prayer in many religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. In English speaking religions, like Christianity, they are called a rosary.
These now trendy prayer beads are fashionable to wear with many different colors and material combinations to fit your intention and individual style. Popular among yogis and those in tune with their spirituality, malas can be made of gemstones, wood, metals, and so many other different materials.
If you have trouble staying focused while meditating, the length of these beads (sometimes exceeding 100 beads), will help you remain focused on your purpose. You will be able to pick from a wide variety of malas, picking the best materials for your goals.
Traditional necklace length malas consist of 108 beads altogether. Some say according to Hindi beliefs, the number 108 holds significant symbolism. The number 1 stands for your god, yourself, and the universe, while the number 0 is the place holder for emptiness and true humility while practicing spirituality. Lastly, the number 8 means timelessness and infinity.
The number 108 holds sacred and scientific significance in India. The sanskrit alphabet is 108 letters, there are 108 goddess names, 108 energy lines lead to the heart chakra, and there’s 108 holy places in India. These are just a few examples of why the number 108 is important in Indian culture.
Malas are an ancient prayer tool used to keep your mind quiet and focused while concentrating on each bead. They can be shortened in length to half their size or smaller to be used as a delicate bracelet.
There are smaller spacer beads threaded throughout the other beads. They are typically made of metal materials and are not counted as prayer beads. These spacers make the malas look more aesthetically pleasing, too!
At the end of your malas is always a guru bead. This guru bead is different from the rest, usually made from another material such as a larger gemstone, metal, or a crystal. The end of the guru bead is a tassel that keeps it all together with a knot at the end.
When you start searching for malas to add to your collection, begin with a clear intention in your mind. What is the goal and purpose of your mala beads?
Malas are made up of many different stones, wood, gems, crystals, and metals. It's easier to know which mala will work best for you when you’re sure about your intention for their use.
Don’t think so hard on which style is most interesting or appealing to others. Find the mala that instantly attracts you and connects with your emotions. From a psychological standpoint, being intrigued or calmed by colors is proof of their effectiveness on your emotions. As spirituality goes, being attracted to certain colors or stones means your energy resonates with it and it will be beneficial to your practice. Many also like choosing the color or stones of their zodiac signs.
Another factor you want to focus on when choosing your malas is the look you want. This is important if you plan on using your malas as a fashion accessory. The size of your mala beads and the length of your string is based on your preference. You can have your pick from a long or short necklace or a bracelet fit your wrist. The longer sizes can be worn around your neck or wrapped several times to be worn around your wrist as a layered bracelet.
Using malas through meditation will help you remain focused and easily remember how many times you’ve recited your prayer or mantra. As you wear your malas you will be reminded of the power of your beads and the intentions you have for using them. The 3 easy steps below will guide you in the best way to use your malas.
1. Choose your space for meditation. Make sure it’s somewhere quiet and calming to further aid your mission of concentration. Set up your usual meditation space by lighting a candle or smudging while thinking of your intention for today’s session.
2. Sit in a comfortable position, especially if you're a beginner, because using malas may be a longer experience for you. Close your eyes and start chanting your mantra. You can vocalize this mantra or keep it to yourself as you hold each bead of the malas in between your fingers.
3. Repeat this process all the way through the string of 108 beads until you reach the guru bead. Once you reach the guru bead you can either choose to skip over it to continue your meditation in the opposite direction or hold the guru bead to bring your medication to a close.
Now that you’ve learned about malas, how to choose the best mala for you, and the meditation process for using malas, you’re ready to start your collection of malas for your meditation tools. Over time, your collection will grow as your intentions and goals change. As your knowledge of stones and crystals grows, you’ll become more aware of the benefits these materials hold and in turn, the selection process of malas will be easier for you. Remember to also cleanse your malas between uses for clear energy to offer new intentions each time.
Trust your intuition as you learn more about malas and choosing the right one for you. Studying the benefits of materials used to make malas will help you, too.
Show off your choice of malas with a wrist length bracelet set from our collection at Vinaya.
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