You always see pictures of yogis and yoginis with long strands of beads around their necks or wrapped around their wrists, but do you know what they are and what they’re used for?
Personally, I first noticed someone wearing a mala necklace (a circular strand of 18, 27, 54, or 108 beads) when I was in my yoga teacher training program. I had no idea what it was for, but I knew that I thought it was beautiful. I wanted one simply for it’s beauty, and I assume that’s why a lot of people purchase them nowadays.
At that time, I wanted to purchase one for myself, but I knew that it had a deeper meaning, and I wanted to discover what that was before I invested in one. It took a bit of research on my part, but eventually I came to understand that they are used for meditation.
Coming from a Catholic background myself, I compared it to the way we pray with the rosary in that each time you move to a new bead, you repeat the prayer. It’s a very similar concept when using a mala, but there’s no need for religious affiliation.
Here is how to use them:
1. Choose a mantra or affirmation that you want to focus on. Perhaps pick something that you’re trying to achieve within yourself, or something that represents how you want to view yourself or the world.
2. Sit in a comfortable crossed legged position, possibly on a pillow or blanket to create some lift in your hips.
3. Hold your mala beads in your right hand draped over your middle finger, and place the thumb on top of the bead next to the guru bead, which is the bead sticking out from the rest. Place the other hand on your knee facing upward.
4. Close your eyes, and deepen your breathing. At first hold your attention on your breath to come inward and quiet your mind.
5. Use your thumb to move from holding one bead to the next, and each time you land on a new bead, repeat your mantra or affirmation. You can do this aloud or quietly in your mind.
6. Repeat your mantra and move from bead to bead until you reach the opposite end of the necklace on the other side of the guru bead.
7. Repeat in the opposite direction if you’d like, or take a few more deep breaths and slowly open your eyes to complete your meditation.
I hope that helps you in better understanding how to use your mala beads for meditation. Let me know how you’re finding your meditation practice with mala beads in the comments below. Thank you so much for joining me to today here on the blog! I hope to see you here again soon! Namaste.
Let’s begin this article with the sound of 3 AUM’s. All together now, “AAAAUUUUMMMM… AAAAUUUUMMMM… AAAUUUMMMM…”
Whether or not you joined me in chanting AUM just now, you must be curious about it, or else you wouldn’t be here. At the start and end of many yoga classes, our teachers often lead us through the chanting of AUM, or OM as many people are use to seeing it. But what is AUM? Why do we say it in yoga class? What is the significance, and how does it tie into my yoga practice?
As many other terms in yoga, AUM is a bit difficult to explain because it’s so complex. However, it is definitely worth learning about and understanding.
OM, or AUM represents the universal consciousness and the source, so to put very simply, it is everything.
It is comprised of 4 syllables:
This represents the conscious state, which is the state of being born or being alive and experiencing the world through our senses.
This represents the dream state, which is the state of experiencing the world behind closed eyes, or without our actual senses.
This represents the unconscious state, which is the state of deep sleep or death.
This represents the absolute or infinite state, which is a state of complete quiet, calm, and peacefulness. Not looking outside or inside ourselves for anything.
Why Do We Chant It?
Because AUM represents the entire universe, we chant it in yoga class to acknowledge our connectedness to everything and everyone around us. We are all one, and we were created in the likeness of our creator. We are connected to nature, our neighbor, and the universe as a whole, and by chanting AUM, we honor and accept that concept.
If you want to think of it in a more practical light (a.k.a. the reason above doesn’t align with your personal beliefs), chanting AUM actually creates a calming effect in our bodies similar to what we experience in meditation. It helps to calm us down, center our minds, and prepare us to move forward in a mindful way.
I hope that helped you in understanding AUM (or OM) a bit better! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope to see you here again soon! Namaste.
Girl On Yoga is a blog about yoga, lifestyle, and healthy / mindful living. If you have any questions that you'd like answered on the blog, submit them here.
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