You may have seen them in a store, or maybe someone wearing one. Is usually a string of beads, but can be also made in wood, and even found in different colors.
But do you really know what is a Mala and what is it used for?
What is a Mala and how to use it
First of all, nope: it’s not a necklace. Mala means garland, it’s a sacred element and it’s used for meditation.
Here are some details that you should know:
1. Japa Mala: The translation of “Japa” is to mumble or repeat a mantra or names of a divinity. Thus, practicing “Japa” refers to whispering a mantra at every mala count.
2. 108+1: A mala has 108 beads (a sacred number in Hinduism), +1. This last one, “The Guru Bead”, represents the count of the energy or master that takes you from darkness to light. But you can also find bracelets, for example, that have 27 beads, or 54.
3. It can’t touch the floor: As you already know by now, a mala is a sacred element. And that’s why it can’t touch the ground or be placed in front of your feet. The best way to take care of your mala is to wrap it in a little white cloth.
4. Only you should touch it: The Mala is personal. It touches your skin, you use it to meditate… it owns YOUR energy. I read once – but I can’t remember where – that sometimes you should leave your mala recharging its Prana (life energy) under the sun.
5. Don’t use the index finger: Join the middle, ring, and little finger of your right hand and let your Mala hang from them. Raise the index finger separating it from the others. Now with the thumb, you’ll “drag” the Mala seeds towards you.
The middle finger represents the ether element. It symbolizes the air, and the thumb the earth. Using the Mala with those two fingers represents the place where we are: between heaven and earth. The index finger, on the other hand, represents fire. That is why it is so intense. We use it to point when we are upset, for example. The index finger also symbolizes the ego.
6. The Guru bead: The Guru bead eventually becomes the last bead of your meditation. Holding the Guru bead repeat your mantra and use the moment to set your intention.
If you want to continue, instead of passing over the Guru bead, simply reverse direction and begin again.
7. Mantras: You can meditate with the Mala only using your breath, inhaling on a bead, exhaling on the next one, and so on. But a wonderful option is using a Mantra of your choice, possibly a short one. Use any affirmation you feel is important to you at the moment, you can say it loud, whisper it or simply thinking about it.
Repeating a sound helps your mind to stop wandering and in the meantime establishes positive thinking patterns.