You might know that an essential part of meditation is to focus. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular types of meditation for focus and mala or meditation beads can help you to focus. So, how to use mala beads for meditation, that is the question we are going to answer today.
What are mala beads?
Mala beads are known as japa beads, meditation beads or just mala. They are a type of prayer bead that has been used for many centuries in many religions including Hinduism. However, that is not to say that you have to be religious or even pray to own the beads.
Today people use them as a meditation aid to help focus and be more mindful. A traditional mala consists of 108 beads along with a larger bead, called the guru. This final bead often has a tassel on it to set it apart from others.
How can a mala help in meditation?
Mala beads can help in meditation and with different aspects of meditation, which brings about numerous benefits. Regular practising of meditation is known to help improve sleep, bring down stress levels, lower the blood pressure, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression and more.
The purpose of meditation beads when using them as a meditation aid is for focus.
The beads help to keep the mind focused and stop it from wandering. They are one way of making the meditation easier. The beads can help greatly in mantra meditation as they allow you to keep track of how many times you have repeated the mantra. They also help to keep you grounded as you touch the beads.
The correct way to use beads when meditating
There are many ways you can use mala beads when meditating to help you remain focused. However, two of the most popular ways are mantra repetition and breathe control.
To use a mala correctly when meditating just follow the steps below.
- Hold your mala beads in one hand
- Allow the beads to drape over your fingers and bring one finger up and over the beads, trapping them below the index finger, on the middle finger
- When moving the beads around in a circle use your thumb as the beads rest on the middle finger
- When you make one complete breath, one inhale and exhale move your finger to the next bead
- Continue breathing in and out slowly without forcing the breath and moving one bead per complete breath
- You always start and finish a round at the guru bead. This means you should have breathed in and out 108 times
- Continue breathing and moving to the next bead for as long as you are meditating.
Using mala beads with mantra meditation
If you want to use the mala with mantra meditation, hold them as stated above. One of the most popular mantras is the word OM.
- Sit in a comfortable seat, set a timer and close your eyes
- Position the beads starting at the guru bead
- Begin meditation by taking a few deep breaths
- Start to repeat your mantra and each time you repeat the mantra move on a bead
- Repeat this process until the timer has rung and your meditation is finished.
How to choose the perfect mala
There is a wide range of meditation beads out there in every colour or mix of colours, and textures. So, how do you choose the perfect mala beads for you?
Well, there is no right and wrong way to choose beads. There is no specific colour that works better than others do and you could choose multi-coloured beads if you prefer.
Some beads have the colours of the chakra stones in them and these can be good for chakra meditation or healing meditation as they represent different chakras within the body.
What you should do is allow the beads to speak out to you. Look at the beads and if applicable touch them, feel them in your fingers. Ask yourself if the beads feel good to you and do they make you feel good.
You might favour a certain material as beads are made out of many different types of materials including semi-precious stones, wood, clay or metal.
Choose a colour and material that you prefer and which feels right for you. Traditional beads have 108 beads, as this is a sacred number in Buddhism and Hinduism, however, some beads have 27 or 54 beads, and the choice is really down to you.