Mala prayer beads are a helpful tool for meditation. It is quite likely you have seen yoga students and teachers wearing the beads as either a necklace or a bracelet. Oftentimes, malas are very beautiful, made from different types of stones, seeds, or beads.
But how do you use mala prayer beads for meditation? What is their purpose exactly?
A traditional strand of prayer beads in the yoga tradition has 108 beads, although you can find some that have double, 216, or half, 54. The number 108 is a sacred number, but there are many different explanations as to why. One of these is that the number represents the different stages of the soul’s journey. Another explanation is that there are 108 energy lines that connect to the heart.
When you use mala prayer beads for meditation, you are helping to focus the mind. Most often, the beads are used as a tool for counting. As you sit in meditation you run the beads through your fingers, counting either the breath or the repetition of a mantra. This focused attention allows your mind to still and more easily drop into a state of meditation.
To properly move the beads through your fingers, gently hold your mala in your hand with the palm face up. Use your thumb and your middle finger to count the beads as you move through your meditation. Because the index finger is often associated with your ego, it is not thought wise to use it when accessing the power of your mala.
What techniques do you find to work best for you with prayer beads?