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What Are Mala Beads?

what are mala beads


What Are Mala Beads?

Mala beads are an invitation to dig deeper into yourself and find your hidden gems. Your mala can be a personal guide, continually reminding you of where it is that you are heading. The beauty of a mala is both in the high-quality stones strung together and the intention you choose to infuse them with. Just as a high-quality yoga mat supports your yoga practice, a meaningfully-chosen mala can be an invaluable tool in living a more mindful life.

What makes up a mala?

Malas are made of 108 beads, a tied tassel in the center, and one larger bead which is called the “Guru” bead. This “Guru” bead can also be referred to as the “focus,” “mere,” or “mountain” bead. This central bead is to be your teacher in following your deepest truths. Its purpose in the mala is to hold your intentions and help you re-focus on these intentions as you wear and use your mala.  

In our Mala Necklace Kits we use natural gemstones because not only are they visually stunning, but they also inspire high vibrational living and bring positive energy. Gemstones are pieces of crystals which act as conduits for healing energy from the earth and are powerful tools for manifesting your intentions. Each gemstone has a unique significance which you can use to clear clutter in your mind, heal the body, and embrace your heart’s deepest desires.

For example, if you are struggling to love yourself, you may benefit from a mala made of rose quartz because rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and healing. Whether you are interested in diving deeper into the significance of rose quartz or just want to set an intention that every time you look at your mala you will take a deep breath and say something kind to yourself, the rose quartz mala will help you develop more self-love.

meditating with a mala

Do you have to be spiritual to use a mala?

Traditionally used as a prayer and meditation tool, malas are often compared to rosaries. Their use can be similar but our malas are not specific to any one religion. While malas have been used for centuries in Buddhism and Hinduism, we encourage you to think of them as a beautiful tool that can help you bring more intention into whatever your unique spiritual practice is!

If you find yourself thinking, “wait, wait, I’m not really sure if I even have a spiritual practice,” let us assure you that you most likely do. There are a million different ways to define spirituality, but we like to keep the definition simple and loose with lots of freedom for you to define it as you see fit. We believe spirituality is simply the practices and intentions we create to be our highest self. This can look like anything from sitting in a church pew to going to a yoga class, walking in the forest, writing a gratitude, or devoting time and love to our families.

Why 108 beads?

There is a rich history in the meaning of the number 108, with different symbolism across a variety of religions.  According to traditional Buddhism, 108 represents the number of mortal desires of mankind which one must overcome to achieve Nirvana.  Over the years many people have found significance with the number 108 and have chosen to add their own meaning to the story of malas. Part of the magic of malas is the mystery around them which allows for each individual to decide how they want to use their mala and what it means to them. We would love to share a few of our favorite answers to the question “Why 108?” and give you room to decide which answers resonate most with you.

-Mala Beads are often used as a meditation tool. For this purpose, there are 108 beads so that a mantra can be recited 100 times as you move your fingers along the beads. Because it can be hard to count and stay on track, there are 8 extra beads to allow for any mantras that may have been missed.  It is also believed that the extra 8 beads are an offering to your teacher, your guru.

-Many say there are 108 energy lines that move through the heart and the 108 mala beads are a tribute to our heart chakras.

-108 is considered a sacred number in yoga. According to Shiva Rea, a well-respected yoga teacher, there are ancient Vedic teachings which say that 108 is the number representing wholeness.

-The sun’s diameter is around 108 times the diameter of the earth.

-And just for something silly... Did you know there are 108 stitches in a baseball?!  


-Lastly, Our favorite reason for 108 is:

1 represents the universe, your highest truth, or God

0 is for emptiness, to remind us to be humble in our lives and in our practice

8 is the symbol of infinity, timelessness, the infinite possibilities within us, and beyond us

mala necklace

A tool for deeper living.

Choosing a mala can be a significant step in getting clear on what your intentions are and making a heartfelt commitment to live fully from those intentions. The power that this tool has comes from the intention and focus that you “assign” to it. With this clarity and whole-hearted intention, you will find that you are capable of infinitely more than you ever imagined. If you hold your mala as a sacred tool and allow it to continually invite you back to your intentions, it will be your guide in creating a life that is just as beautiful as its 108 polished gemstones dancing in the sun.

 Read More About Mala Beads in this popular post by Yoga Journal!


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