Yoga and meditation are practices that have been around for hundreds of years. Many people enjoy them not only because they enable them to relax but also clear their minds and find solutions to some problems that have been bothering them. It does sound like a great activity that can actually help you a lot, doesn’t it?
If you are thinking about entering this world, there are a few things you should know. In this article, we will introduce you to mala beads as one of the tools that enable you to focus. Besides, we will also provide you with some tips on how to choose the right mala for you, but if you want to learn more about this tool and are interested in reading some appealing texts about meditation with beads, visit this website.
What are mala beads?
These beads are also known as mala or Japa mala, and essentially they are a kind of prayer beads that are used across a wide variety of religions, from Hinduism to Catholicism. Naturally, nowadays, they do not always have a religious affiliation, which is why they are used for meditation and yoga.
They consist of 108 regular beads and an additional guru bead, which is larger than the others and usually has a tassel. When it comes to the question of why 108 of these exactly, there are numerous theories. According to some of them, number 1 represents God, 0 stands for the universe, and number 8 is the representation of infinity.
How to use this tool?
If you are a complete novice, you are probably a bit confused about how everything works and how you should use mala beads. Don’t worry because we will help you.
First of all, find a comfortable and quiet place. When it comes to meditation, a traditional choice would be the floor. You should sit on a pillow or a folded blanket, just to be comfy. On the other hand, if you opt for sitting in a chair, make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and that your spin is straight, but try not to touch the back of the chair. Do you see know why the floor is a preferable choice? Some of the most popular seating positions are Half Lotus Pose, Easy Pose, Hero Pose, and so on.
Close your eyes and breathe
Now that you have found the right seating position that makes you feel comfortable, it is time to relax. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. When it comes to Japa meditation, some people choose to have their eyes open and softly gaze in the distance. However, keep in mind that the whole point of this is to focus on your thoughts and feelings, so closed eyes are probably the better choice for you, especially if you are not an experienced practitioner.
Furthermore, you have to steady your breathing. Surely you know how important it is when trying to relax, so take deep breaths, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth, and feel your belly expand and contract.
Choose a mantra
Many people would argue that a mantra is the most important tool to help you unwind, and they are not wrong. If you already have one – use it. If not, it is time to think of one. Interestingly, a lot of people put pressure on themselves to choose the right mantra.
In reality, it is much simpler than that. All you have to do is think about what you need at that exact moment. How do you feel? What do you want to achieve? What’s more, you can always start with common mantras, such as “I am (strong, brave, loved).” On the contrary, you can always look for some of these online. The whole point is not to agonize about what your mantra should be.
Take the mala beads
Hold the beads between your index and middle finger, and starting at the guru bead, count each of the smaller ones, saying the mantra, until you have completed the whole circle, i.e., until you have counted each of 108 beads. When you reach the guru one, take a few moments to appreciate yourself. If you want to continue meditating, you can simply start the counting process again, but in the opposite direction.
Try to keep your mind focused on the mantra you are saying, and the sensation of your thumb touching each bead. It is completely natural for your mind to wander. Don’t feel guilty about it, but instead, shift your focus on the meditation and continue. It will probably take you some time to figure out the pace that allows you to concentrate on your mantra fully.
How to choose mala beads?
If you have done any kind of online research, you have probably seen that these beads come in multiple styles and colors. In addition, they are made from a wide range of materials, everything from seeds and wood to precious and semi-precious stones.
So, this means that you will have to choose the right one for you. Generally speaking, you should go with the one that “speaks” to you. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Go to the store, touch a few of these, and consider those that feel good to you that make you feel comfortable. You should also consider those that you find beautiful. Finally, since these can be made from different materials, our advice is to go with the one made from the stone that has a special meaning to you.
How to wear these beads?
Whether you will choose to wear mala beads or store them in your home is completely up to you. Most people opt for wearing them around the neck, with the guru bead near their heart, or behind their neck. Moreover, you can wear it around your wrist. You will have to wrap mala around your wrist a few times to make it fit. Nevertheless, this is not recommended since it will wear out the cord and decrease the mala’s lifespan. Lastly, you can get a bracelet mala that is explicitly designed to be worn around the wrist.