If you practice yoga or meditation regularly, you may want to consider using mala beads as a meditation aid.
Mala beads are typically a string of 108 beads used to keep count during mantra meditations, also known as Japa meditation. Some malas can also have 27 beads or 21 beads for use in shorter meditations. The practice is similar to the rosary as one recites a mantra or prayer for each bead, repeating it continuously as you move on to the next beads.
Mala meditation, or Japa, is a practice shared by many eastern spiritualities, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Shintōism. Mala beads have been used particularly in Buddhism and Hinduism for centuries and the traditional Rudraksha mala traces its origin back to the 10th century.
Malas can be used during meditation, they can be made from gemstones that match the intention of your practice, and often malas are placed in shrines as a reminder of affirmations. Malas are also referred to as mala beads, Buddhist beads or Buddhist prayer beads.
How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation
Using a mala is simple, easy, and enjoyable. Follow these 8 steps to get started:
- Clarify the intention of your practice and choose your mantra or affirmation.
- Find a comfortable space and sit quietly in a cross-legged position.
- Close your eyes and observe the speed and your natural deep breaths.
- Begin to breathe deeply and bring your focus and attention to your mantra or affirmation.
- Hang the first mala bead gently on the middle finger or ring finger of your right hand.
- Place your thumb on the guru bead and begin reciting your mantra.
- At the end of the mantra push the mala bead away with your thumb and move onto the next bead for another round. Continue until you reach a count on 7, 21, 27, or 108.
- If you wish to do another round of mantras or affirmations, do not skip over the guru bead. Instead, turn the mala around and reverse direction.