Using mala beads to meditate has completely changed the way I practice meditation. Japa meditation is really, really good for those of us that might have issues with getting distracted while you’re meditating. I have been known all the time actually to be in the midst of meditation and really trying to center myself and then it’s just like my mind starts running and I’m thinking about what I have to make for dinner, what I forgot to do that day. Whether that’s due the next day. All of a sudden I’m just like, my mind is going 90 to nothing during a time that I’m supposed to be completely calm and centered.
So when I started meditating, about a year ago, I began with guided meditations and those are so awesome when you’re starting out because it just leads you through the meditation. You’re not lost, you’re listening to a voice. I really love it, but over time it just became a little bit monotonous for me.
For me, I find in my life I need to switch it up a little bit. So I started reading about japa meditation beads a couple of months ago, and they just seemed so interesting to me for many reasons. First of all, just the fact that, choosing one is a special time like finding the right Mala for you, but also the fact that it keeps you really, really focused.
So what are Mala beads? A lot of different cultures that use different kinds of prayer beads, a rosary is a perfect example, but a mala can really be worn by anyone that’s wanting to seek a calmer mind or a more peaceful spirit.
Mala beads are beautiful pieces of jewelry that you can wear for just the fun, which isn’t a bad thing. I really liked that I had this beautiful piece of jewelry that signifies much more to me. A traditional mala has 108 beads on them. There are lots of different stories as to why the number 108 a significant, but it’s just a beautiful necklace that you use to meditate.
One of the best parts of meditating with A mala is choosing a Mala because that’s a really personal experience as all of the malas have different gemstones and beads on them which really signify and help with certain issues.
What do you do with a mala? I love japa meditation beads because your meditation has a definitive start point and an endpoint and for those of you that try to meditate and you’re sitting there cross-legged with your eyes shut, and you’re kind of like, what am I doing? When is this going to be over? What’s going to happen? When you are using a mala to count your mantras you know when you’re going to start, and you know when you’re going to finish, and that’s really, really important to me.
To start meditation with a Mala you put the first small bead between your forefinger, your index finger and your thumb and just feel it, kind of press it with your thumb and what you’re going to do while you’re meditating, you’re sitting quietly with your eyes closed, is to run each bead underneath your finger and you’re going to basically work your way through a 108 beads and you just kind of feel. It’s a great thing because it keeps you focused because you’ve got that tactile experience, you feel that bead in between your fingers and you just focus on that feeling and work through.
Now you can add a mantra you can say and intention while you’re doing it. And that’s the great thing about meditating with some Hindu prayer beads. It’s there in your hands and keeps you present in the moment. Sometimes I like to say an intention. If I’m having a particularly rough day, from not feeling very well, sometimes I’ll just repeat 108 times while I’m moving the beads. I am healing every day. I am healing every day. I am healing every day. I’m healing every day. Of course, you’re not saying it out loud, you’re saying it to yourself, but the crazy thing is about our brains is they respond to practice. They respond to repetition. And so sometimes it seems silly. Oh my gosh, am I really going to say that 108 times. But it’s amazing. Your brain gets it over time, and you just go through it, and the neurons start firing differently, and you will find that it will give you, an increased sense of awareness of what you’re saying.
It’s almost like you’re believing it more when you’re saying it to yourself a lot. So that’s one thing you can say if you’re having a tough time with a coworker, if you just had a breakup, you can chant something like I’m good enough, I’m good enough, I’m good enough, I’m love is all around me. Whatever the options are limitless really from what you can say.
If you don’t really want to say an intention, you can use mantras. A mantra I use a lot, which is a Kundalini mantra, are it’s four syllables, SA TA NA MA. And so as you’re running the beads through each bead say SA TA NA MA. So that working all the way through, that’s a beautiful mantra that keeps me really centered. Just repeating those four syllables over and over. So after you work your way through the 108 beads, you come to the large stone at the end, and you can say a little prayer, and that’s it.
That’s the end of your meditation is really a beautiful way to meditate using these beads, and as I said before, I love them because number one saying a mantra or repeating and intention keeps me focused on the task that I’m doing. I’m number two, the gemstones are powerful and choosing your wallet is very personal, personal and it just, you have a connection to your Mala. And thirdly, like I said, having 108 beads on the mala. You just have a defined start point and a defined in point, and you know how long your meditation is going to be. There’s really no room for just going off into La la land. It keeps you focused; it keeps you aware, it increases your clarity.
I practice japa meditation when I wake up in the morning there next to my bed. Sometimes I don’t even get out of my bed and sit down. Sometimes even when I’m laying in my bed, I will grab them and go through the 108 beads saying my mantras or my intention and it really, it starts my day off.