Mala Beads FAQs
What are mala beads?
Traditionally, mala beads were/are used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions for keeping track of number of breaths, repetition of mantras or deities’ names during meditation. They are made with 108 beads, plus a guru bead (which nowadays can also be a tassel or a larger gemstone). Today malas have become a symbol of universal spirituality, a reflection of cultures coming together, and ultimately, of love. You don’t have to be from a specific religion to use a mala and you do not necessarily have to use it for prayer, but it is intended to be a sacred object.
What are mala beads for?
Your mala is a reminder of an intention you have set, a way to connect to your challenges, dreams + hopes, and it can also help you balance your chakras (Read more about this on the next question).
It is a sacred piece of wearable art that you can use to meditate, wear around your neck, your wrist, place it on your altar or bring it to yoga practice and leave it at the top of your mat to absorb the energy of your practice (please do not do this in a hot yoga class as it may get damaged). Whatever you feel called to doing with it, treat it with care. It is a sacred object made with high-quality crystals that will no doubt bring joy, peace and health into your life, no matter what your way of using it is.
Why Are They Made With Crystal Beads?
Traditionally malas were made with simple wood beads or seeds. Nowadays, you can find them made with a wider variety of materials. I chose to use crystals because they are high-vibrational offerings our Mother Earth, and they have subtle but powerful healing frequencies that can help you:
- Relieve and release stress and anxiety
- Amplify your healing power and potential
- Have more energy
- Harmonize thoughts
-Stimulate spiritual development
-Protect you from negative energies
- Balance emotions
- Ground you + connect you to Mother Earth
...and so much more
What are chakras?
Chakras are the 7 main energetic centers in our body, starting at the base of the spine, up to the crown of the head. Each chakra corresponds to a specific area of our physical body, as well as our psychological, emotional and spiritual states of being. When a chakra is out of balance, it will reflect as a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual issue. Read more on chakras here.
How Can Crystals Help Me?
Every crystal, like everything else in the Universe: food, thoughts, words, and so on, carries a specific vibrational frequency. Crystals can help activate + balance the energy of a specific chakra, or all of them (depending on the crystal’s properties). You can place crystals on the corresponding chakra while you meditate, or you can hold your mala during meditation while you repeat a specific mantra or simply breathe while holding it. To read more about this, you can go here.
How Do I Meditate or Repeat Mantras With My Mala?
Find a silent place to sit. There are different ways to do this, so please choose the one that feels right for you. Depending on the tradition, the mala is usually worked with using the right, or left hand. There is no "right" way.There are two ways to do this:
1. Rest your mala over your third finger and using the index finger and thumb and lightly grasp the bead next to the Guru Bead (the large bead at the bottom center).
2. You can also place it on your ring finger, and use your third finger and thumb to move through each bead.
Breathe deeply several times until you feel relaxed. Move the beads toward you, through your fingertips, one-by-one, breathing deeply and slowly with each movement. Repeat a mantra, intention, affirmation or prayer with each new bead. The mantra can be anything you wish.
To finish the cycle:
1. In some traditions, when you reach the Guru Bead (the large one at the bottom/center), you completed the cycle.
2. In other traditions, when you reach the Guru Bead, you do NOT touch the guru bead, gently turn the mala and start again, going in the other direction.
3. Another option is: when you get to the Guru Bead, take in in between your fingertips, stop, don't count it, don't pass it. Mentally bow to your guru/Spirit/God/the Universe and flip it around, and go back the other way.
Sit in silence for a few moments until you come out of meditation. Meditation is a process of healing. It is meant to be done slowly and brings peace to your mind, heart, soul and physical body. It is not a race. Do not be discouraged if you don’t feel “perfect” the first time you meditate. Like with everything, practice makes "perfect".
Why Do Mala Necklaces Have 108 Beads?
All mala necklaces have 108 beads. They can also be made using 54, 27 or 21 beads. The number 108 is a powerful, sacred number, and many traditions and belief systems have different interpretations as to why. According to traditional Buddhism, there are 108 mortal desires of mankind. Some say there are 108 stages on the journey of the human soul. Others believe there are 108 energetic channels emanating from the heart. In Hinduism, there are 108 chapters of the Rig Veda, 108 Upanishads and 108 primary Tantras. The Sanskrit language has 54 letters, each with a masculine and a feminine, totaling 108. Astronomically, the diameter of sun is 108 times of the Earth. Chinese astrology says that there are 108 sacred stars. Others believe that 1 stands for God, higher Truth or unity, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity, eternity or completion.
Why Are Malas Knotted?
All of our mala necklaces and some of our mala bracelets are knotted. The small separation between the beads makes it easier to follow mantra, breath or deity name repetitions during meditation.
How Should I Choose a Mala?
With so many beautiful crystals + colors to choose from, picking a mala can be overwhelming. I suggest choosing the one that you feel drawn to, maybe because of its color, or texture. Don't think about it too much: trust your heart and intuition! (Some suggest not choosing crystals by reading what it’s “good for”, but simply by pure attraction). It is said that crystals choose you, so if a mala is calling you and it feels right, trust your intuition: that means it is for you.
BONUS: If you drawn to a mala and you read it’s great for grounding, and you know you struggle with grounding, then double trust it: synchronicity may be at play!
How Do I Choose a Mala for a Gift?
Close your eyes and bring that person into your mind and heart. Would they be drawn to a particular mala you see here? Do they have a favorite crystal? What do you feel the person wants in her/his life right now? Do you know if they are working with a specific intention or affirmation? It may be as simple as: you see a mala and someone comes to mind. That may be a strong sign that it could benefit that person. Again, trust your intuition!
Should I Wear My Mala Bracelet on My Left or Right Hand?
The right hand is believed to represent the masculine, and more open to giving.
Depending on what your intention is, you can choose what hand to wear it on. If you are looking to let go of a specific fear (giving it to the light), then wear it on your right hand. If you are looking to call in more patience into your life, wear it on your left hand.
How Do I Care for My Mala?
Your mala is a sacred object made with delicate, high-quality crystals, stones, and gold plated details. As with anything scared, it must be cared for and tended to.
Read more on caring for your mala here.
Read more on how to cleanse and active your mala here.
What if My Mala Breaks?
Your mala will not break easily, as it is made with high quality materials. If it breaks within 30 days of purchase and you followed our care recommendations, please reach out to us here. We highly value + appreciate honesty and courtesy with these matters.
If your mala breaks after 30 days, don't worry! It is believed that when a mala breaks, it has fulfilled its purpose and cycle: it opens up a new chapter and it is time for setting a new intention. Although it may be sad to "lose" your beloved piece, it as a practice of letting go of the material for a higher purpose. Honor and celebrate your mala and what is brought you.
The creation of these crystals + making them into beads take resources, so I would highly suggest not throwing them away into the trash. Their vibratory frequency can last for years if properly taken care of. You can keep the beads in a small bag and place them on your altar or somewhere safe, or bury them in the Earth as an offering to Nature. Read more on environmentally friendly ways to discard your mala pieces here.