What Are Mala Beads?
The most common question we get asked is pretty understandable and pretty basic - What are mala beads?
The simplest answer is that mala beads are a strand of beads, traditionally used for counting during mantra meditations. In Sanskrit mala simply means "garland". It is a sacred tool used to aid meditation and mindfulness. Malas have been used since at least the 10th century as a meditation aid, and for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity.
Many people choose to use their mala in contexts outside of seated meditation. Wearing a mala as a bracelet or necklace is common. This helps keep your affirmations or intentions with you throughout the day. Whichever way you choose to use your mala, mala beads can be a representative object of your intentions or affirmations and are powerful for helping focus the mind on that which you most hope to develop through your yoga and meditation practice.
The next question we get is: What is the significance of 108 beads?
The number 108 is sacred in many different ways - for all of the different, and very neat, ways it is significant check out this page. Our Favourite is regarding the heart chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to Self-realization.
I hope that helps provide some clarity and understanding about what mala beads are and what their significance is. They're wonderful tools for your mindful practice.