How to meditate with mala beads

Meditating with mala beads

Whether you’re just starting a meditation practice, or you're an advanced practitioner, Mala beads are a great tool to help focus your attention.They provide something tactile to come back to when your mind starts to wander.(Which happens to everyone!)Rolling the beads through your fingers is a physical way to direct your energy and attention. It’s a gentle reminder every few seconds to reground and refocus.

Start here

If this is your first time using a Mala, start by holding it out in front of you so we can look at the anatomy. (Read: Anatomy of a Mala) The tassel represents an end point — signifying you’ve gone all the way around the Mala for a full cycle of meditation. Between the tassel and necklace loop, there is one single bead, called the guru bead.Start with the necklace in your dominant hand, tassel facing towards you.

Start with the bead to the right of the guru bead. - Begin turning each bead individually in your fingers, making your way slowly to the next bead. - When turning the beads, try not to use the index finger as that is believed to represent the ego. - Try using your thumb to turn the beads. You can use your thumb nail to pull the bead towards you.

Or you can use your thumb to rotate the bead by turning it and moving to the next. - You will notice there is hand knotting between each bead, this is meant to help ease the practice of moving from bead to bead.

Using an affirmation

For the sake of this, we will use an affirmation based mantra, which is an “I Am statement” On each bead, inhale “I Am” and exhale a word that embodies how you want to feel in that moment. It can be abundant, strong, patient, intuitive, etc. (For more on choosing your word, read: I Am Enough — Why Affirmations are so powerful)Inhale “I Am” and exhale your word on each beadYou can also simply use one word such as grounded, or love. Once you have made it around 108 beads, you will reach the guru bead. The guru bead signifies a moment to pause and sit in reflection. Here, you can thank and honor your guru, your mantra, and yourself for taking the time to sit in stillness. Congrats! This signifies a full practice! FYI - If you want to keep meditating, rather than continuing over the guru bead, it is advised to turn back in the direction you just came.

What is a mantra

When using a mantra, it's believed that only the positive intentions and actions will fill your mind and eliminate negativity. A mantra can be as simple as the word 'love,' something you are thankful for, or a phrase such as 'om shanti, shanti, shanti' which represents all encompassing peace. You can also meditate on an affirmation, such as 'I accept myself.'Many people are fortunate enough to be gifted a mantra from a teacher or guru.

Choosing your mantra

However, you can choose a mantra for yourself depending on what you are needing in life. While choosing a mantra, you should consider your inner motivations for practising meditation. Whether you're looking for positivity, health, happiness, self love, or if you simply want to find balance. A mantra is a word, sound, or phrase repeated to aid in your concentration while meditating.

Mantras we love

Strength: "This too shall pass." 
Love: "I am love."
Calmer mind: "Smile, breathe, and go slowly."
Being present: "Be here, now."
Guided: "I am open to receiving universal gifts."
Happiness: "Today I choose joy."
Release: "Close your eyes, clear your heart, let it go."
Empowerment: "I are capable of wonderful things"