How Mala Beads can enhance your daily meditation practice.
Mala beads are as relevant for meditators today as when first established 1000’s of years ago in India. If you are having trouble establishing a daily meditation practice one of the best tools can be this little set of 108 beads, thread into a necklace or bracelet, originally designed to settle the focus of the mind. (There is a smaller set of 27 as well – 4 rounds to a full 108 set equivalent) The beads have a tassel or larger bead attached so you know the count you are up to if meditating with your eyes closed.
Once you have chosen your bead set you might like to keep it with you, so that meditating becomes something you can do in the micro-moments throughout the day and evening. I keep my set in my handbag during the day and under my pillow at night. Some people like to wear their Mala Beads as a necklace or wrapped around their wrist as a bracelet. If they are nearby at all times, it is surprising how organically meditation can become a part of your busy day.
How to use the mala beads
Choose a comfortable sitting position, remembering that if you are sitting quite upright you will feel more alert and capable of meditation. Ideally the hips should be higher than the knees. Just sitting on the end of your seat will do or on a cushion on the floor, as long as you feel nice and comfortable. (To be honest I meditate in the line a Woolies or in a coffee shop if I feel so inclined. Its easy and unnoticeable to others as you threat your beads through your fingers.)
1/Place the beads in your right hand and practice drawing each bead towards you, one at a time, with the thumb and middle finger. (The pointed finger represents the ego and we try to keep it out of the way.)
2/Choose the type of meditation you would like to practice
Breath Awareness (Count the inbreath 3 or 4 and the outbreath 3 or 4) while touching each individual bead. One full breath per bead.
Setting an Intention – Saying a chosen word to yourself as you touch each bead such as Peace, Calm, Love, Joy or Freedom. (Last night I chosen ‘Legacy’..that was a good word that felt very potent, like I was aligning with my true purpose.
Being Present – Perhaps as you touch each bead you arrive in the present moment and notice different sounds. Another option is to notice the body – How is your body moving as you breathe? Can you release some tension on the exhalation? Can you feel a lengthening of the spine as you inhale.
For Sleep – Thread the beads through your fingers as you settle under the blankets at night. Perhaps sending loving kindness to the people who come to mind and filling yourself with nourishing care and acceptance.
3/Simply embrace the practice with a sense of curiosity and acceptance. It doesn’t matter how long you practice for so no pressure! This is a tactile way to make meditation achievable most days. Enjoy!