Updated: Nov 4, 2021
I used to do yoga all the time. At least five days a week. I sometimes catch myself asking: "Why don't I do it all the time anymore?" But I already know the answer and it's not just one thing... it's life, and it's a million reasons. One day I know I'll find my place in yoga again. But back then, when I was at the yoga studio nearly everyday, I remember overhearing a girl relating a conversation about someone being angry with her that she was wearing her mala beads. She said they told her, "They're not supposed to be worn - you're doing it wrong." The teacher overheard and said with a smile, "If someone is angry about wearing prayer beads, THEY'RE doing it wrong." Amen.
The issue of whether a mala can be worn is based on very old, traditional views of the mala as a sacred religious object. While a mala CAN be that, it can also be used for meditation or simply as a reminder of your spiritual journey or goals. This is the main purpose a mala serves for me.
Most malas are made with 108 beads. This is because in Hinduism and Buddhism, 108 is a religiously significant number. Getting into the details of that will have to be a separate post! Malas are also not just beads strung together...each bead has a knot tied in between, creating a tangible separation between the beads. Malas can be made with a multitude of material...I mostly use crystals, but bone, seeds or wood are also used. My very first mala was made of yak bone.
Crystals all have different spiritual and energetic properties attributed to them and I am no expert. In fact I often do my own research each time I use a new crystal, so I am learning as I go. Colors of crystals also correspond to the various chakras of the body and you may be drawn to a particular mala because your mind/body/spiritual self is currently working on healing something associated with that particular chakra. Each chakra is also associated with an age range. If you ever find yourself fixated on an issue related to a particular chakra it can be helpful to examine your experiences during the associated age range as well. The colors and ages associated with the main chakras are:
Crown: violet or white; spirituality, enlightenment, consciousness; 43-49 and 92-98
Third eye: purple; subconscious knowledge, sensory perception, intuition, inner vision; 36-42 and 85-91
Throat: blue; self-expression, communication; 29-35 and 78-84
Heart: green and pink; love, compassion, empathy; 22-28 and 71-77
Solar plexus: yellow; personal power, will power, self-esteem, confidence; 15-21 and 64-70
Sacral: orange; emotional state, creativity, sensitivity, sexuality, intimacy; 8-14 and 57-63
Root: red and black; security, safety grounding; birth-7 and 50-66 years
I use Reiki energy to clear the malas before I give them to anyone. How does this work? Reiki is a high-vibrational frequency of energy. When performing Reiki on a person, the Reiki energy flows through the energetic field, helping to clear lower vibrational energy. Low vibration is associated with stagnant or negative energy that may be blocking your body from working at its most optimal level (a.k.a. being healthy). When Reiki is imbued into an object, it works much the same way: clearing out unwanted energy and "infusing" positive intention into the object.
I always think about how many places those crystals have been before arriving on my table as I begin to string a mala. They have come from the earth, been through manufacturing and transportation, and have been touched by countless people, and they contain the energy of all of that. I clear them and imbue them with positive and loving energy, and with the intention they will provide you with whatever you need, and whatever you are searching for.