When I taught elementary school I had a few students that had a hard time focusing, students that had significant problem behaviors, and students that had severe anxiety. One of the things that helped my students were “Calm Down Beads”, which were necklaces that we made where they would count the beads and take breaths as they took time to reflect and quiet their bodies and minds.
As adults we have access to mala beads; mala beads are a strand of 108 beads that have been used in meditation for thousands of years. Malas consist of the 108 beads and a larger bead called the Guru bead. Malas are not just stylish and trendy jewelry, they are tools that we can use in our meditation practice daily. Logan Milliken, who creates malas for Silver and Sage jewelry states that malas “offer people a wearable reflection of something in their own journey, so in that way the mala really becomes whatever the wearer intends for it,”
So how do you use a mala in your meditation practice?
Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably with your spine straight. I like to straddle a bolster or a pillow in my practice, but you can find a seated pose that works for you. This article from Yoga Journal has great tips on how to find a comfortable posture.
Take a few deep breaths in and out.
Find your mantra or intention before beginning. In simple terms a mantra is a phrase, word, affirmation or sound that aids in your concentration while meditating. Some examples are “I am present”, “I am calm”, or “Shanti” which is Sanskrit for peace.
Starting at the small bead next to the Guru bead use your thumb to say your mantra as you hold each bead between your thumb and pointer finger.
Continue until you reach your Guru bead.
That’s just a quick overview of what malas are and how to use them in your practice. In the studio we are blessed to have malas made by Texas Girl Treasures that have been created with love for use in meditation. In a world where our minds are so busy and frazzled it’s so nice to have something to ground us and bring us back to the present.
For more information visit the following articles: