A mala is a meditation necklace that has been worn by Yogis, Hindus and Buddhists for thousands of years. It supports you on your spiritual journey and helps you manifest your goals. We want to give you a brief overview what a mala necklaces is and what its benefits are.
Origin and meaning of mala beads
The term "mala (माला, pronounced mālā)" is Sanskrit and means "meditation beads". In ancient times, the mala was given to yoga students by their master during a special ritual to help them on the path to enlightenment.
Mala beads are traditionally made of special materials and are used to support japa meditation. In this form of meditation, a specific mantra or affirmation is spoken aloud and repeated over and over again. To concentrate fully on the mantra - and not be distracted by counting the repetitions - the meditator uses the mala as a counting aid. This allows a deeper meditation and the resulting energy is "stored" directly in the necklace.
This kind of meditation is already mentioned in the Mahabharata about 400 BC. However, since knowledge in India was traditionally passed on orally from master to student, the actual origin of the mala necklace is probably much older.
Structure of a mala necklace
A mala necklace traditionally consists of 108 beads and a guru bead (also called "bindu"). The number 108 is a special number in Buddhism and Hinduism. For example, it is said that the body has 108 energy pathways and that a mantra can only develop its full effect after 108 repetitions.
The guru bead is attached as an extra bead slightly offset. Often it is made of a special material or has a decoration, for example a tassel. It is not used during meditation and serves to calm the flow of energy through the rest of the beads. This prevents the energy from flowing cyclically through the mala. It also marks the start and end points of the meditation.
Sometimes beads of a different size/texture are inserted at positions 27, 54 , 55 and 81. These serve as a kind of compass during meditation. This is because they allow you to feel how many repetitions you have done and how long the meditation will continue.
Who can wear a mala?
Anyone can wear a mala necklace - whether they meditate or not.
While malas have traditionally been used as prayer beads and are deeply rooted in Indian culture, don't let that deter you: A mala can benefit every human being regardless of religion or lifestyle and act as a reminder of your positive intentions. Just wearing a mala has a calming and positive effect on many people around the world.
A mala is both a beautiful piece of jewelry and a companion on your path to greater peace, a calm mind and a positive life.
How to wear a mala necklace in everyday life?
You can wear a mala simply as a necklace around your neck or wrap it around your wrist several times. Many people also wear it under their clothes, directly on their skin and close to their heart.
You can wear the mala all day long. However, you should take it off for washing or showering. This is because the thread becomes less durable when wet, and soap/perfume will make the beads brittle over time.
Theoretically, you can even wear your mala at night - but most people prefer to keep it on the nightstand next to them or in a small wooden box.
And of course, you can take your mala with you to your yoga practice - to focus and to charge your necklace with your positive yogi energy. To do this, place the necklace on the floor next to the head of your mat. This way you always have it in sight and it doesn't interfere with your asanas.
What makes a mala special?
No matter which way you personally prefer to wear it, you will notice after a few days that a very special relationship develops between you and your mala. Many people report that they are reluctant to take off their mala, that they unconsciously touch it with their fingers all the time, or that they feel a special warmth when wearing it.
This is due to the special energetic properties of the beads, which interact with your body's energy. The beads absorb and store your bodys energy, while at the same time releasing a bit of their own energy onto you.
For this reason, a mala is also a very personal object. You should not just give it to friends or other people to wear - nor should you just wear other people's malas for a few days.