How To Use Your MalaMala Beads aren't just beautiful pieces of jewelry — they are also important mediums for peace and enlightenment.

Traditionally, the beads have been used in prayer and meditation. But don't let that intimidate you.

Anyone can wear mala beads, whether you meditate or not. Often, people are drawn to the necklaces for their believed healing qualities of calming the mind and providing inner peace.

You can wear them around your wrist, your neck, hang them at your altar, or meditate on them.

If you choose to meditate on your mala, you will most likely use a mantra. A mantra is a word, sound, or phrase repeated to aid in your concentration. It can be as simple as the word 'love,' something you are thankful for, or a sanskrit phrase such as 'om shanti, shanti, shanti' which represents all encompassing peace.

To count your mantras, hold your mala in your hand and turn each bead with your thumb and middle finger. (The index finger is believed to represent 'ego' and is not recommended to turn the beads.)

Going all the way around your mala, you will eventually reach the guru bead — the bead that dangles from the mala. This signals a time for reflection. You can reflect on your meditation practice, give thanks to your mantra, honor your guru — or show yourself a moment of gratitude for slowing down to meditate. Never continue over the guru bead. Instead, turn around and continue in the opposite direction.

It's widely believed that when one uses a mala for meditation, and makes it all the way around, they will have found enlightenment.

Some malas have different counts. Our mala beads have 108, as that's a very traditional and sacred number.  They are also hand-knotted between each seed and gemstone to help aid in the practice of japa meditation.

If you choose to meditate on your mala, be patient and kind to yourself.  Your mind will surely wander. The practice of bringing your attention back to your mantra and your beads is the practice of mindfulness. Do so with kindness and without judgement.

Meditation is a practice, as is self love.

For more, watch our video How to use mala beads for japa meditation

This article was written by Mala Collective founder and journalist Ashley Wray.

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