What is a mala?

What is a mala really What can it do and what is the purpose? 

A mala chain, or a japa mala,(in Sanskrit मला mālā)a tool for meditation and mantra counting.

I japa yoga (read more here) repeat a mantra many times and preferably 108 times, as 108 is a sacred number. Therefore, a mala chain typically also contains 108 beads.
(However, they are also included54 or 27 beads).

Traditionally, a mala will therefore consist of 108 rudraksha seeds, which in Hinduism are considered to be sacred seeds - Shiva's tear. (read more here)
But I also tie my malas with both wooden beads and semi-precious stones - stones and crystals - as these have what I call 'linguistic energies' which we can make use of in our work with body, mind and energies.

Mala means translated fromSanskrit 'wreath' and it is therefore also dressed as a prayer wreath or a prayer chain. It is thus, by function, related to, for example, the rosary from Catholicism.

Most malas will also contain a 'Guru' beads which are different from the rest of the chain. This 'Guru' marks the beginning and end of the Mala chain and you must never meditate on the Guru, as this is your guide and teacher.

Benefits of investing in a mala and using it actively in your practice:

  • Your mala can help you stay focused during your meditation.

  • It is an effective and practical tool for counting mantras or breaths.

  • It gives you an easy way to keep track of the number of recited mantras.

  • The malara of the mala and the inherent linguistic energies of its stone can help you focus on a particular theme during the meditation.

  • You can use your mala as part of your own spiritual work - as protection or as an energy booster.

  • Investing in a mala (and thus yourself) and actively choosing such a tool can help you set and work purposefully with your intentions, dreams and personal or career goals.

  • Your mala can therefore also be an extremely effective tool for manifestation.

  • Wearing a mala can be a reminder of your intentions and goals. Giving yourself a mala chain can serve as a reward and a symbol of your dedication to your journey and your goals.