Mala Beads Blog
Mala beads recently have been surfacing all over the place as a beautiful fashion accessory. But there’s so much more to a mala than a stylish beaded necklace with a bohemian vibe. Mala, meaning “garland” in Sanskrit, have been used for centuries for meditation and prayer. Traditionally, a mala has 108 beads, which assists in counting your mantras during Japa meditation. You’ll often see gemstones as part of (or all) of the 108 beads. Each gemstone adds meaning. Once learning of their special meaning, people are drawn to them even more. Wearing your mala around your neck or wrist serves as a gentle reminder of what your intentions and goals are. A glance or holding it in your hand can bring it back to you, your dreams, and where you want to be.
Mala beads are a useful and beautiful tool used for meditation. They can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet, and usually have 108 mala beads on each strand, though other numbers may be used. They are used to count breaths or the number of times a mantra is repeated by running your fingers over the beads.
Japa mala necklaces can be used during meditation and also worn throughout the day as a reminder to be mindful or as a reminder for a personal mantra connected to the type of bead or stone the necklace is made from.
You’ve also probably noticed that most malas have a tassel or guru bead (aka sumeru, bindu, or stupa). This is to mark the beginning and the end of your meditation. In addition to being a counting tool, malas are helpful to keep your mind focused and help guide your attention if your mind drifts.
KATIE HORWITCH: What’s the significance of 108 beads?
JENNIFER CIRAULO: It is said that there are 108 reasons why 108 is a sacred number. Here are just a few:
-it is said that there are 108 energy lines that converge to form the heart chakra.
-it is said that there are 108 Indian Goddess names
-the diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth
-there are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet…each having a masculine and feminine (Shiva and Shakti). 54 times 2 is 108.
-in astrology, silver is thought to represent the moon…the atomic weight of the silver is 108.
KH: What is the Guru bead?
JC: The Guru bead represents your teacher(s) in life and also the teacher within yourself. During a Japa meditation cycle, this is where you pause, reflect and give thanks to your teachers and the teacher within you. If you choose to do another cycle of meditation, you reverse the direction and never cross over the Guru bead as that would be seen as stepping on your teacher.
While any type of beads can be used for meditation, certain colors and precious stones have their own meanings that can be significant to the wearer and help to achieve a certain purpose to their meditation and their life.
Gemstones have varying energy and healing properties, so when you are selecting a bead for your meditation, you want to look for the ones that have properties that will benefit you the most. Are you meditating to reduce stress? To increase creativity? For sexual energy? There are stones that help with each purpose.
Rose Quartz – Truth. Harmony. Encourages unconditional love. Purifies and opens the heart. Promotes love, self-love, and friendship. Provides comfort in grief. Dispels negativity
Carnelian – Stimulate creativity. Motivates. Encourages vitality, courage, and positive life choices. Sharpens concentration. Helps with overcoming abuse, treats depression, and dispels emotional negativity. Boost fertility and stimulates sexuality. Increases passion and compassion.
Citrine – Uplifting and energetic. Inspires success and prosperity. Promotes success in business or personal affairs. Combats negative energy and helps to bring stability. Balances the solar plexus chakra.
Amethyst – Memory enhancer, motivator, tranquilizer. Protective. Balancing. Enhances memory. Relieves insomnia. Soothes and counteracts negative emotions like stress, anxiety, sadness, grief. Good for people dealing with high stress, anxiety, and depression. Also helpful for people dealing with addictions. Makes a nice gift for travelers and soldiers, as it’s said to protect from harm and attack. Stimulates the third eye chakra
Obsidian – Protects against negativity and negative energy. Clears confusion and promotes clarity. Stabilizes. Insightful. Stimulates growth, compassion, and strength. Helps dissolve emotional blocks from past trauma.
Black Onyx – Protection, strength, good fortune, vigor and health. Black onyx banishes griefs and promotes self control. In addition to balancing the energies of the body, this mala promotes healthy bodies and increased stamina.
Clear Quartz – Amplifies other crystals and heals, drawing off negative energy. Cleanses the mind and body. Extremely beneficial for meditation.
Why Does A Mala Have 108 Beads more info ?
- There are said to be 108 energy lines or Qi that meet to form the heart chakra
- There are 108 Hindu Scriptures in the ancient text of the Vedas.
- The numbers in 108 have their own spiritual meanings. 1 for a god or higher truth, 0 for completeness in spiritual practice or enlightenment, and 8 for infinity.
- There are said to be 108 feelings in humans. 36 related to the past, 36 to the present, and 36 to the future.
- In astrology, there are 12 zodiac houses and nine planets, which multiplied equal 108
Picking Your Stones
In creating your custom Mala, each stone or color combination is said to posses different qualities that amplify or heal your energy, help attract certain outcomes, and have different affects, choose stones that resonate with you.
Traditionally, a monk blesses Mala Beads to be cleansed of past energies and ready for use, but you can use smoke from Palo Santo Wood or A Sage Smudge Stick to bless them yourself. Smoke from these ancient tools have been used for thousands of years to cleanse, purify, and extract negative energies.