Mala: Care & Use

Our 108 Bead Mala

All of our Malas are made by hand from the highest grade components available, having been sourced from around the world and always procured through sustainable means in support of other cultures and indigenous peoples. Our artists and designers create our Malas in-house, utilizing the same methods that have been used for centuries, while honoring our Company Mission of creating products that directly support the Spiritual and Mindful life of each individual towards a more fulfilling human experience through lessening anxiety and generating greater abundance.

Caring for Your Mala

Your Mala has a higher purpose... while it is a beautiful piece of jewelry that you can wear on a daily basis, your Mala is also a Mindfulness Tool. Depending on your religious or spiritual path, when not in use, you may choose to keep your Mala in it's handmade bag, placed near your meditation space or on your alter. For some, the Mala is viewed as a religious relic. In these instances, the Mala should only be handled by the practitioner with clean hands and with intention.

Cleansing and Blessing Your Mala

The Mala can be blessed by your Priest, Pastor, Rinpoche, Guru or Teacher, with the processes being dependent on the lineage and protocols for blessing ritual items. Those who are independent practitioners may choose to cleanse the Mala by placing it on their alter or sacred space, use appropriate incense, candles, oils or other precious cleansing elements to clear the energetic field of the Mala, setting it to your vibration and spiritual belief system/path.

Should Your Mala Need Repair 

While all of our Malas are made using only the highest grade materials, such as natural silk, braided cord, natural hemp fiber and/or natural cotton fiber, over time and with regular use, your Mala may loosen or your cord may break. While this typically only occurs with a lot of use over time (my Mala is 12 years old with daily use and is going strong), but if it happens, simply contact us and we can restring and repair most Malas for a nominal fee. 

Types of Malas and Their Uses

 Our Spirit Charm Mala Bracelets (Shop This Collection)

The Guru Bead had direct requests for a bracelet done in a traditional fashion, with a locking clasp, that could have charms as an option, made of precious gems that could hold an energetic, mindful intention. Our answer was the creation of our Pearl Spirit Charm Mala Bracelet collection! 

Our Spirit Charm Malas are strung on natural silk, can have up to five spiritual charms and most are hand-knotted in the Japanese Pearl tradition. The bracelet is intended for daily wear with a powerful purpose in supporting your spiritual, mental and/or religious life.

While you can remove the bracelet and use each pearl as a focus bead to mindfully follow your breath, mantra or prayer, just as you would with a 108 Bead Mala (see below for exact instructions), the Spirit Charm Mala allows you to set an intention each day, taking a moment as you lock the bracelet around your wrist, making an internal goal for that day, such as, "Today I am going to stop, disconnect from my electronic devices, and focus on my breath for 5 minutes," or "Whenever I feel a charm touching my arm, I will stop for 5 seconds and focus on the love I have for my children." Some choose their charms as touchstone reminders of why they wear the bracelet, what's important to them or what they are choosing to work on within themselves.

Simply glancing at your wrist has the ability to interrupt your wandering mind and bring you to the present moment - even if only for 5 seconds - you are mindfully focused on the moment, on your breathing, on the beauty that is you and your active life. How often do we do this now? How many times a day do you notice (noticing is the key word here) negative self-talk you are unleashing in your mind about your own behaviors? Making the unnoticed, the unconscious - conscious, has the ability to change your thinking which, we know from cognitive behavioral research, changes how you feel, which trickles down to how you act, literally taking control of how you want to be! 

 The Wrist Mala (Shop This Collection)

Wrist Malas are very popular in the Buddhist, Hindu and Christian traditions where meditation, prayer and mindfulness are used in tandem with this type of jewelry. Made of 18, 21, 24 or 27 beads, the Wrist Mala typically has a Guru Bead with a sliding vertical knot or no Guru Bead with a horizontal sliding knot. By gently pulling the knot down or to the side, the Wrist Mala opens for easy removal. Once off, sliding the knot back into place offers a small Hand Mala, allowing you to take each bead, in sequence, as you focus on your breathing, mantra or prayer. Please see below for detailed instructions on holding and using a Mala in this way.

Just as with the Spirit Charm Mala outlined above, you can set your intention each day as you adorn your bracelet and allow the physical sensation of the Wrist Mala to continually bring you back to the present moment. This is Mindfulness in action!

The Hand Mala (Shop This Collection)

The Hand Mala is typically larger than a Wrist Mala and consists of 27 beads, which is equivalent to one of the four quadrants that make up a 108 Bead Mala. Just as the 108 Bead version only accounts for 100 repetitions and not 108, as the 8 added beads are given to mistakes or miscounts, the 27 Hand Mala beads account for 25 repetitions with 2 beads reserved for mistakes. Completing 4 circuits of the 27 Bead Hand Mala is equivalent to one full circuit of the 108 Bead Mala. Please see below for detailed instructions on holding and using a Mala.

The 108 Bead Mala (Shop This Collection)

The 108 Bead Mala has traditionally been used in both Buddhism and Hinduism, as it has been for thousands of years (circa 8th Century BCE). Formally known as "Japa Mala," sanskrit words meaning repetition (Japa) and garland (Mala), which was later misinterpreted by the Romans while trading with India, confusing "Japa" with the Latin word "Jap", meaning Rose which then became Rosarium, and is where we get the modern day word, "Rosary."  Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s religions use some form of prayer beads to aid in their daily spiritual practice.

A 108 Bead Mala is divided into 4 quadrants, each containing 27 beads, with each quadrant separated by a marker or focal bead. The Mala starts and ends at the "Guru Bead," typically a larger or detailed bead representing the Guru or spiritual guide who has taught you directly or for whom you acknowledge as your teacher. Through regular use, your intensions, energy and meditation become a direct aspect of your Mala, as the energetics of the materials the Mala is constructed with are believed to influence your meditative practice. While there are 108 beads in total, typically 100 beads or 100 repetitions are formally used as a full Mala rotation, allowing for 8 beads to represent mistakes that were made during recitation and are therefore not counted. 

Holding the Mala

When using a 108 Bead, Hand or Wrist Mala, start with the bead on either side of the Guru Bead. If no Guru Bead is present, choose the focus bead or hand-knotted closure as the Guru Bead and choose a starting bead on either side. Hold the bead between your thumb and middle finger, leaving the index finger relaxed. This method is used more by Hindu practitioners as the index finger is associated with the fire element and is not used with Mala repetition so as not to drain the Mala's energy. Buddhist and lay practitioners will often hold the first bead between the thumb and index finger. If you are concerned with which way you should practice, note the words of one Buddhist Master who stated, "index finder, middle finger, thumb... the point is to practice."

Once you have placed the bead between two fingers, repeat your mantra, prayer or full breath one time. Keep your attention on your point of focus (mantra, prayer or breath). Using your two fingers, slide the first bead towards your palm until you are holding the second bead. Repeat your mantra, prayer or breath, keeping your intention on your practice. Should your mind wander, as it is guaranteed to do, without judgement of yourself, gently acknowledge "My thoughts have wandered to work" (or whatever category has manifested in your thoughts) and simply begin that bead again.  Do this for the full length of beads, until you reach the Guru Bead. 

When Reaching the Guru Bead

When you reach the Guru Bead on the opposite side, turn the Mala in your hand so that last bead is now the first bead, facing the opposite direction. Rotating the Mala in this way allows you to then go back the way you came. The rule is to never cross the Guru Bead, simply move back and forth along the string. If you are just beginning, you do not need to complete the entire 108, 27 or other quantity of beads, simply go for as long as you have time or temperament. And remember the most important rule - there is no failure in Mindfulness. If you accomplish One Bead and One Breath, you have succeeded in training your mind one moment more than you otherwise would have by not practicing at all. 

Deep Bows and Compassion with Yourself is the Path to Your Spiritual Nature, One Bead and One Breath at a time.

Namaste.