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How to use mālā beads.

As you dive into mindfulness and yoga, you might encounter this thing called mālā beads. It’s a very useful tool within mindfulness and the yogic tradition.


If you’re curious to learn more about mālā beads and their proper use, read on to find out how you can incorporate these beautiful beads into your practice (without just considering them jewelry).


What are mālā beads?


Mālā (Sanskrit:माला; mālā) means 'string', 'necklace', or 'garland'. They can be used to deepen your mindfulness practice and are often connected to the practice of mantras.


A mantra is a phrase, word, or sound that is repeated or chanted during meditation or other contemplative practices. Mantras are often used to maintain focus, anker the mind, promote concentration, and cultivate a sense of inner calm and spiritual connection.


Mantras are an integral part of mindfulness and yoga practices, used to support your mind in meditation. Mantra comes from the Sanskrit words manas (mind) and trai (device).


Mālā beads often contain 108 beads, which is considered a sacred and complete number in many spiritual traditions. It is believed to represent the entirety of existence or the universe. In astronomy and astrology, there are said to be 12 zodiac signs and 9 planets. When you multiply these together (9 x 12), you get 108, symbolizing the cosmic connection and completeness.


Mālā beads can be made from a variety of stones, gems, wood, and crystals. Using different stones makes it possible to create a variety of beautiful mālā beads. The stones all hold special meaning and energies that can support you in your practice. Because of this, you can be very intentional with the beads that you choose. The sibling science to yoga āyurveda goes into depth as to how to use these different gemstones and their effects on the mind-body-spirit.


On mālā beads, there is often a guru bead. The guru bead is a larger stone, often with a tassel or ornament attached. The guru bead can be used as guidance in meditation to inform you that you have made it all the way around the beads.

 

How to use mālā beads.

 

In meditation, mālā beads are often used in connection with mantras. You let your fingers run through it, starting from the guru bead, and citing the mantra for every bead, until you reach the guru bead again.

 

Because of the beauty of mālā beads, many also wear them as a necklace or bracelet, but mālā beads are more than fashion statements, they are specific spiritual tools, like the Rosary in the Catholic church, and hold special meaning. As such you should never wear them simply as jewelry without understanding and knowing their meaning.


How to avoid cultural appropriation.

 

The usage of mālā beads is not considered cultural appropriation when used as meditation tools or as gentle reminders of mindfulness in your daily life and not simply as cute jewelry.

                        

So, while using mālā beads without respect, or understanding their origin and without intention could be considered inappropriate. Using mālā beads in meditation for a deeper mindfulness connection or as a necklace or bracelet in your daily life to incorporate mindfulness, spiritual connection, or as a gentle daily reminder to be more mindful would not be considered inappropriate.


Mālā beads are a time-honored tool to add a deeper level to your mindfulness, yoga, and meditation practice, and if you’re using them to become more mindful in your daily life and enhance your meditation. I would encourage you to incorporate them into your practice.


As long as you’re appreciating a culture by being informed, you are less likely to appropriate. There is nothing wrong with tuning into a culture and its practices, as long as it is done properly and with respect.



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    Disclaimer

    The information found in this blog post is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for a health professional's advice. If you are struggling with health issues please seek professional help. The use of any information provided in this blog post is solely at your own risk.