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What is a Yoga Mala: How Yoga Jewelry Helps Your Practice

Posted by Nicole Carr on

What is a Yoga Mala: How Yoga Jewelry Helps Your Practice

Yoga has been proven to improve health and overall body and mindfulness of those who practice it. Doing yoga places a distinct emphasis on meditation and mindfulness before proceeding to practice the poses. People who are into yoga soon find themselves following all things that inspire calmness to achieve firm body, mind, and spirit. Those who are into the practice also choose to wear meaningful symbols, semi-precious stones and use yoga jewelry to help them in meditation.

What is a Mala?

The yoga mala is actually a strand of beads including one large bead referred to as the summit or sumeru bead. It is a type of necklace made from natural materials such as basil wood, gemstones, crystal, sandalwood or rudraksha seeds. Because yoga emphasizes meditation and calmness, it is important that you achieve that level of calm as you begin practicing yoga poses. In meditation, having very low energy can make you fall asleep, but if your energy is too high, you might get distracted. This is where Mala beads can help in your yoga practice.

Mala necklaces are often used for mantra meditation and it is held in the right hand. There are two ways to use it. One is placed hanging between the third finger and the thumb. The second finger rotates the mala beads one at a time towards you in each repetition of the mantra. The second way of using it is by letting it hand on the second or middle finger and the thumb is the one to rotate the bead one at a time. The index finger is never to touch the mala when you start meditating with the mala beads. There are people who use the mala with the hand concealed in the mala bag which is very sacred, while other practice meditation with their mala coiled on the floor and the right hand resting on the right knee.

How to Use the Mala for Meditation?

Mala for meditation should start at the summit bead and should continue around the loop until you come back to the large bead where you started. You should never pass over the summit. If more than one round of mantra is needed, you can turn it around and go in a reverse direction. While meditating, you should focus on your breathing – move past each of the mala beads as you inhale or exhale.

The different ways of holding the mala have actually been passed on from generations. Most practitioners keep their mala out of view and do not entertain others casually handling it. Though it is not forbidden and they are not secretive, the mala is not usually displayed or worn to be examined by others. For many practitioners, using the mala for meditation is sacred. It has a strong association with their mantra that showing the mala without purpose feels somewhat inappropriate. This is why practitioners also keep their hands inside the cloth where the beads are kept when meditating. Concealing this motion of the hand when meditating is equivalent to modestly concealing the motion of their mind.

Anybody who has recently started using mala beads for meditation may find themselves awkwardly and clumsily holding their mala. You may lose your hold of the beads or find them sliding off your fingers and even drop them completely. Like everything else, you too can get through this phase with constant practice and it will be worth the effort. The movement of the hand holding the mala is not only a good way of counting mantra repetitions. This practice also helps relieve physical tension and sustain concentration as your meditation sessions become more intense.

Yoga Mala as Jewelry

Mala beads have also become a fashion item as more and more people started wearing them as a necklace or as a bracelet. Yoga jewelry are worn to keep their intentions or affirmations. Some place their mala necklace  inside a cloth and keep it in their purse or pocket. Wearing and bringing your yoga jewelry with you anywhere you go means that you can use it, discreetly wherever you are. You can meditate while waiting in line, sitting on a bus, traveling on the plane or taking a break. When practicing poses, you can coil mala bead necklaces at the top of your yoga mat as this is said to help the mala absorb their energy.

People who first encounter yoga malas are impressed with the intricate designs of the beads. These are mostly done by hand and no piece is exactly the same. There are unique edges that many people find appealing. In most cases, there are meaningful symbols or semi-precious stones that represent the seven chakras.

Popular Symbols for Yoga Necklaces

People who choose to wear their yoga mala as necklaces can choose among the typical symbols to be included in their jewelry. It can be created in different materials and inspirations. Other adornments for yoga necklace are polished rocks, fused glass, and millefiori beads. Some of the typical symbols that you can find in these beads are the Om – which is a holy word in Sanskrit, the Bodhi Tree, Namaste, Gaia, Shakti, AH, Lotus, Mandorla, Dyana Mudra and Prana. You may also find that some of the popular poses are also used as symbols. There are also beads which are made after the seven chakra colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Some mala necklaces look like the usual beaded accessories but they have a purpose way deeper than just aesthetic appeal. Sadly, there are also people who are not even aware that it is mala beads that they are wearing and what they are used for. Yoga jewelry really look impressive with their intricate details, symbols, and handcrafted beading. But what is really important for the student or teacher who practices yoga is that they can improve their mediation and practice using mala necklaces and bracelets. These are natural meditation aids which can double as an accessory that they can wear anywhere they go.


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