I hadn’t used my mala beads to practice meditation since I was pregnant. Ever since I had my son, 5 to 10 minute guided meditations is all I've been able to do. Because honestly, guided meditations are a lot easier than having to get the monkey mind quiet on your own. But there’s something about using a mala to meditate that guided meditations don’t give you. It is said that the beads, especially the “guru" bead, the biggest one at the centre of the necklace, holds the energy you created during the practice.
What in the world are malas and where do they come from?
Japamalas or malas (necklaces traditionally consisting of 108 beads, the numerical equivalent of “Om”, the sound of the universe), have been around for thousands of years, derived from Buddhism and Hinduism over 3,000 years ago, and aren’t just for seasoned yogis or people who want to further their spiritual health. Anyone can use them too as a tool to start practicing meditation.
Their main function is to help you recite a mantra during your practice. A mantra is a syllable, word(s) or sound that brings a certain energy or “superpower”. I love the mantra So Hum, which means “I am” in Sanskrit. I also love Anando Hum “I am bliss”, but also use simple words that will help me feel like I want to feel at the moment. For instance, “focused” or “calm” or a full sentence such as “I am ready to welcome baby”.
Want to give meditation with a mala a try? Here's how:
1. Find a mala that calls you. I got mine in India when I did my prenatal teacher training certification, but you can also find them online.
2. Next time you want to practice meditation (emphasis on the word Practice), grab your mala, and start at the centre or “guru” bead.
3. Choose a mantra or superpower word or sentence that you want to use as your anker.
4. Start repeating the word out loud or in your mind – once per bead.
5. Notice how your mind ruminates, then bring your attention back to your beads and to your mantra.
6. Notice again how you get caught in the narrative of your thoughts. Bring yourself back to your mala and mantra.
7. Continue like this until you’re back at the guru bead.
8. Hold the guru bead and feel the energy you’ve created.
9. Thank yourself for showing up to take care of your mental and spiritual health.
10. Voilà. You just practiced meditation.
If you're not ready for a mala meditation but would rather be guided, check out this 10minute guided meditation I recorded for you:
In my 1:1 private pregnancy and postnatal yoga support programme, we make sure you integrate meditation / mindfulness, yoga, and functional movement into your daily life. We breakdown your care plan so that you can actually get it done and get the results you desire. I am with you every step of the way, holding you accountable and guiding you into a stronger, healthier you.
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