One of my favorite things to do before I walk out the door is adorn myself with a beautiful mala I bought in Bali while traveling there in 2012. I distinctly remember the experience of buying it. My friend Lisa and I searched and sought for over a week until we found the sweetest little shop with handmade malas.
We held mala after mala in our hands, carefully considering the significance of the stones, the colors of the beads, etc. I chose a traditional mala with rudraksha beads and carved lava as the Guru bead (the centering bead above the tassel). Recently while at a 21 day yoga teacher training, I wore this mala and used it often for Japa meditation - a recitation of mantra 108 times, using the 108 beads as my guide.
Malas are not only an aesthetic enhancement to an outfit, but they are also a spiritual symbol. I wear mine as a reminder of the yoga journeys I have been on. I also use it in meditation. 108 is considered an auspicious number for many reasons. According to Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga), there are 108 sacred points in the body. There are also 108 energy lines within the chakra system that connect to the heart, and the diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The significance of 108 can be found throughout history in religions, astronomy, and numerology.
Japa meditation is the repetition of a mantra or chant 108 times as you pass your mala beads through your fingers. Through recitation and repetition, you enter a meditative state. You can start with simple mantra such as “So hum” (I am) or “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti” (Om peace peace peace) and repeat it with your eyes closed.
Find a mala that speaks to you, wear it with love and joy, and try on different mantras and chants. You can search online for more mantras to suit your mood, intention, and desire.
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2018