WHAT THE HECK IS A MALA ANYWAYS?
“They’re more than just a [fashionable] necklace,” says Jenn Ciraulo. “Mala beads encourage a calmer mind, body and soul. That is why people are so drawn to them.”
Mala necklaces are strands of 109 beads—typically stones, crystals, sandalwood or rudraksha beads that
carry certain energy—traditionally used during meditation, where a mantra is quietly repeated 108 times. Wearing the mala as a necklace or as a bracelet throughout the day helps you manifest the power of the stone. And much like a rosary, the beads help the practitioner keep track of their place as they move through a meditation practice with the beads in between their thumb and forefinger. At the 109th bead, it is customary to give gratitude to teachers and the most important people in your life.
Why 108? It is said there are 108 reasons why this number is considered sacred in the yoga practice. Some examples include the 108 energy lines that converge to form the heart chakra, 108 goddess names, and the diameter of the sun, which is 108 times the diameter of the earth.
Although mala beads are traditionally used during seated meditation, they can also enhance anasana practice. Place the mala at the top of your mat, as a reminder of the intention you are trying to manifest, as you move through your vinyasa.
“Wear mala beads as a subtle reminder during your everyday life,” says Diana House. “It’s an armour or protection for confidence. Something you can grab to calm down.”
It is recommended that you wear a new mala for 40 days to form a connection to the meditation tool. Christy Wendrei, says it’s important to make a ritual every morning of associating yourself with the energy and aura of the beads so you’ll feel the protection, confidence and strength throughout the entire day.