How To Effectively Use Mala During Yoga?
Mala, also known as mala beads or Buddhist prayer beads have been used in Buddhism and Hinduism for many centuries. They are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various religions of the world.
Malas are a strand of 18, 27, 54, or 108 beads. However, the 108 mala beads are the most common and they are most the most suitable for long meditations. Mala beads are used for keeping count while chanting, counting, or repeating mantras (Sanskrit prayers) in sets of 108 repetitions. Mala beads are the meditation aid for anyone who practices yoga regularly.
Choosing Mala Beads
Knowing how to effectively use mala during yoga starts with choosing the right mala. You can choose your mala beads based on the intention of your yoga practice, bead color, and the bead material. However, before you choose any Mala that catches your fancy you must make sure it is a high-quality mala that can withstand frequent use on and off the yoga mat.
Seven Steps for Mala Bead Meditation
1. Clarify the intention of your meditation and choose a mantra
Choose the best mantra that suit your intention. Click here to read how to choose mantra for your Mala.
2. Find a comfortable position for meditation
Mantra meditation can be done seated on the floor and it can be done seated on the chair; although traditional mantra meditation is done sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position. However, it is important that one is very comfortable during meditation. The spine should be straight and it should not rest on anything. Also, make sure no part of your body is tensed; you must feel absolutely relaxed.
3. Minimize or remove all external distraction
Anything that could distract you during your mala bead mediation should be removed. A meditation room should be quiet, organized, well ventilated and dimly lit.
4. Breathe slowly and deeply
During meditation, breathe slowing through your nose. Feel your upper body expand outwards when you inhale and feel it contract when you exhale. As you breathe deeply, focus on your mantra.
5. Hold your mala in your right hand and hang the first mala bead gently on the middle finger. Then use your right thumb to count each mantra by touching the bead as you recite each mantra. Make sure you extend your index finger away from the bead because it should not touch the mala or be used for counting. The large meru should not be touched or counted by the thumb.
6. Keep pulling the beads with each mantra until you have completed the 108 repetitions. If you wish to do another round of mantras at the end of each round of mantras, turn the mala around and count in the opposite direction. You should take care not to skip over the guru bead.
7. Keep your mind focused on the mantra
Your thoughts should be completely focused on the mantra and the movement of the beads in your hand. While you are meditating, shut out all the thoughts in your mind, be present in the moment, and be absolutely calm.