What are mala beads and why are they in my yoga studio?
Have you heard of a mala before? Maybe you've seen them at your local yoga studio, but don’t really know what they are.
Simply stated, a mala is a string of beads that has traditionally been used in prayer and meditation.
The necklaces have long been used in Buddhism and Hinduism for those purposes. However, that doesn't mean you can't use a mala if you’re of a different religion or no religion at all.
The beauty of a mala is that it can be used by anyone seeking a calmer mind, body, and spirit. For that purpose, malas have a strong and natural connection with the yoga world.
Much like yoga, people turn to the beads for different reasons. While some people roll out their mat in a hot yoga class looking to find inner peace, they’ll also grab a set of beads for the same reason.
Some turn to the jewelry for prayer, and others for fashion. Some use a mala to set their intentions, or pay respect to a higher consciousness within.
Others like to wear the jewelry as a reminder to be conscious of certain aspects in their life — as I do. I can often be seen wearing my favourite mala, which combines rudrakshas with jasper, leopard skin, and agate. Those stones are believed to portray qualities of comfort, balance, creativity, inspiration, and problem solving.
There are malas out there that represent the chakras — the seven energy points of the body — and malas that encourage the wearer to open their heart to love.
Generally those types of malas combine gemstones and seeds, as the stone are believed to promote different healing qualities.
Other malas simply use seeds, which are typically harvested in South East Asia, such as rudraksha, sandalwood, or tulsi.
Malas are often knotted, which allows one to turn each individual seed or stone between their fingers during meditation, helping to count mantras. (A mantra is a combination of words of sounds that one uses in meditation.)
So the next time you spot a mala in your local studio, or see someone on the street wearing one, you’ll know what it’s all about. And maybe you’ll choose to enter your own personal journey with the jewelry, from setting intentions to finding inner peace — or simply looking and feeling good.
This article was written by Mala Collective founder and journalist Ashley Wray. It originally appeared on Van City Buzz. Read the original posting here: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2012/10/what-is-a-mala-and-why-is-it-in-my-yoga-studio/