A mala is a prayer chain commonly used in Buddhism and Hinduism. It is wrapped around the wrist or worn around the neck. The mala beads are used to count the recited mantras, and manually moving the beads further deepens concentration. Malas are a beautiful meditation accessory and perfect for yoga meditation and popular as jewellery.
108 or 21 mala beads
Mala necklaces come in many varieties, varying in length, size and material. They are made of natural materials such as gemstones, wood or plant seeds and almost always contain 108 beads, hand malas 21 pieces. The beads are usually smoothly polished and glide pleasantly through the hands when meditating. A guru bead with or without a decorative tassel is typical of a mala necklace.
How to meditate with a mala necklace
Choose a mala necklace that you like or that supports your meditation (e.g. rock crystal promotes clarity).
Find a mantra or affirmation that suits you and your intentions.
Sit upright in a quiet place, close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly.
Take the mala necklace in your right hand. Hold the first bead between your middle finger and thumb. With each bead of the mala, recite your mantra or affirmation. Then, with your thumb, draw the next bead onto your middle finger for the next recitation.
When you have recited your mantra 108 times - for each bead - and have reached the guru bead again, you are finished or start the next round.
Every material has its individual charisma. Especially beautiful and valuable are gemstone malas, which can support meditation with their special properties. Amethyst, for example, promotes intuition, rock crystal clarity and rose quartz opens the heart. Tiger eye stands for courage, while schungite is known as a protective stone and the blue stones chalcedony and larimar promote communication and openness.
Wood is a natural material that also has a calming effect. A classic is sandalwood, whose scent has a balancing and harmonising effect and deepens meditation. Dark and shiny is rosewood, which is often used for mala necklaces. It is often combined with coloured gemstones such as turquoise or coral.
Malas from plant seeds
Malas are often made from the seeds of plants that occur in nature. Particularly popular are the brightly speckled lotus or brown rudraksha seeds. Mala necklaces made from the seeds of the Bodhi tree are particularly beautiful. Buddha was enlightened under this kind of tree. What material would be more suitable for a mala necklace as a meditation accessory?
Recognising the quality of a mala chain
Well-made mala chains are characterised by various features. These include smoothly polished, evenly sized beads throughout the chain that give a beautiful appearance and feel good to the touch. High-quality malas are also characterised by elaborately individually knotted beads. This fixation keeps the beads in place and prevents them from slipping apart over time.
Meaning of the chakras in malas
The colours and gemstones of mala necklaces appeal to different chakras. An amethyst mala, for example, has an effect on the crown chakra, the mala necklace made of carnelian on the root chakra. The chakra mala, whose different coloured gemstones represent all seven chakras, is also particularly popular. A chakra mala can help to focus on all the chakras during meditation.