How did you choose your mala? Were you drawn to a particular energy or gemstone?

I think malas kind of choose you! I have several malas and I’m kind of moody about them.  

Sometimes I feel drawn to rose quartz or amethyst, the soft colours and the symbolism of unconditional love and open-heartedness or spiritual depth.

I also wear the Fire Allies mala a lot, with lava stone, and love how it feels. To me this stone is a reminder that we’re all stronger than we think, not in a rigid way though. It's about transformation, being open and flexible and taking each moment at a time. 

And always, I go back to my Surf Girl mala with it's vivid colours, the smaller rudrani seeds and light and sunny feel. I love the ocean and the blue hue of the turquoise takes me there. It’s also associated with the throat chakra, and feels good to wear when I’m teaching.

When did you start your yoga practice? What are some of the benefits you have received from your practice? 

I’ve been practicing yoga for more than a decade. It helps me feel strong, connected and at peace from the inside out.   

For me it started as a physical practice, and I loved the thrill of connecting deep breathing with movement. But now I see it as a really a big, all-encompassing system for living. I think it starts with a big smile. When you're happy inside, you're a happiness spreader. That's yoga.

Any tips for those are are just starting to use a mala in meditation? Do you have a favorite mantra or intention to meditate with? 

Japa, or meditation using a mala and a mantra, is very powerful and practical. 

I love using a simple word or intention, like “peace” or “let go.” Whatever I’m working through is made easier with the help of meditation. It clears things out.

Japa is a great tool for anyone since the repetition and the mala itself keeps the mind focused and relaxed. You simply relax and move your fingers along each bead, repeating your own personal mantra.  

Practically, it’s best to have larger beads with a knotted space between beads, like the Fire Allies mala. I love the texture of this mala too, so the beads don’t slip on your fingers, and you can focus on going within.

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Chantal O’Sullivan loves yogaHer yoga classes are fun and challenging with an emphasis on good alignment and breathing. She teaches at her yoga studio, Shanti Yoga, in Delta, and at Semperviva in Vancouver.

And you can find her leading popular yoga retreats in Costa Rica, Galiano Island and Bali, Indonesia. Go to www.shantiyogabc.com for updates, information and to connect.

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If you'd like to be featured in the You & Your Mala series, send us an email at info@malacollective.com

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October 08, 2013 by Ashley Wray

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