I was at a yoga class last week, and I was talking to some friends there about meditation, yoga and what it is that I do. When I talk about Vedic meditation, I automatically assume everyone knows what I’m talking about, but not the case! I get asked a lot, “What are mala beads?”, a few years back, I wouldn’t have known what a mala is either. So I told my friend that they are Buddhist prayer beads, as this is often what they are referred to as – which wasn’t really the best explanation looking back in hindsight. I quickly added that you don’t have to be a Buddhist, however, to wear them.
Malas can also be called meditation beads, prayer beads, japa malas, and mala beads, amongst others, so you can see they can have many names. My friend then asked if I was Buddhist, of which I replied, “I wouldn’t say I was really any denomination in particular, but if I had to pick one, then yes, Buddhism resonates with me”. So the conversation went on, and I was then asked if Buddhists believe in reincarnation “like do you believe that you could come back as a bird or something?” Hmmm…. the things we talk about at yoga class! And some conversations you feel totally unprepared for! Anyway, this leads me to my point today. There seem to be many questions about mala beads and what it is they used for, which I hope to help clear up here today.
There also seem to be a few questions about Buddhism, which I might leave for another day, but to touch very lightly on the subject: Do you have to be a Buddhist to wear or use mala beads? No, you do not have to be Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Muslim, or any religious denomination to use or wear our mala beads. Did you know that many different religions use prayer beads, including Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Sikh Faiths?
Mala beads are used to raise the vibrational frequencies of ourselves, to assist during prayer or meditation by enabling us to count our mantras, for cleansing of the chakras, and for crystal healing. Let me explain:
Malas in Meditation
Mala beads can help focus and still the mind during meditation, by assisting one to count and recite chants or mantras. Meditation is a practice performed by all races and religions in some way or another. Meditation can be likened to prayer; we are meant to be connecting spiritually, by quieting the mind and focusing, weather we ‘speak’ to our subconscious or a higher being. Meditation can come in many other different forms; it can be implemented into your day at any time, and on a basic level is just about being present at the moment, being connected to the Earth and the environment, the people that you’re with. It is about stopping your habit force and thinking, ‘what am I doing?’ and engaging fully in that moment. If, for example, you are washing the dishes – you do it as if it is the greatest and most important thing on Earth that you have ever done. We call this mindfulness. So is Meditation when we sit down and chant “Om” with our hands in a mudra? No – not necessarily, although it is for some, there are many forms of meditation.
Crystal Healing With Malas
Every living thing on this Earth has a vibrational (bioelectromagnetic) field around it; this is what we call the Aura. We can not see it, but even science has proven it to exist. Basically, there are two primary electrical systems in the body. The first is the electrical currents of the CNS and brain, and the second is our atomic, electromagnetic radiation, which allows for energy exchanges between ourselves as individuals, our environment, and others.
Further, the aura holds the key to our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Think back to a time when you have been able to ‘feel’ the energy of a space or a person, whether good or bad. I bet you can think of at least one example! That is the power of vibrational energy fields. Can you sense how someone you know well is feeling, or how their day has been without even speaking a word to them? Again that is the power of the Aura.
Crystals have unique vibrational fields as well, and they can help lift and tune-up like the strings on a guitar, your vibrational energy as well. Mala beads being made out of crystals, therefore work in this way. To gain the full benefit and unlock the healing potential of crystals, they need to be cleansed once in a while, charged and programmed with your intention – therefore activating their healing vibrational frequencies with the power of the mind.
You may want to know more about what some crystals are used for, and how to cleanse, charge, and program your mala. I will write a separate blog on this topic later this week.
Mala Beads for Chakra Cleansing
Meaning “wheel” in Sanskrit, Chakras are energy centers within our body that in which Qi or Prana (the universal life source of energy) flows through. There are seven major chakras; the Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown, all of which are associated with different systems of the physical body, including the adrenal, the ANS, and the endocrine systems as well as the non-physical but more spiritual side of our selves. Mala beads can help align and balance your chakras by helping you to practice techniques such as meditation, visualization, or physical exercises such as yoga to assist you with working on a particular area in your life. Mala beads can also help cleanse your chakras by using the same principals as crystal healing.
A Reminder of What You’re Working on in Your Life
Malas can simply be, if nothing else at all, a reminder of what you are trying to change or work on in your life. Each mala represents something different: love, change, growth, learning, athleticism, ego, joy, communication, etc. So when you choose a mala that resonates with you, it is only natural that each time you wear your mala, you will be physically reminded by what it symbolizes and means to you.
And I think that is what it comes down to whether you want to call them mala beads, japa malas, prayer beads, Buddhist prayer beads, meditation beads, yoga beads or just crystal beads, weather you’re Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic or Islamic, or if you’re none of the above, it really just doesn’t matter! You wear them for whatever purpose resonates with you and let them just be whatever they symbolize to you personally.