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How Do I Meditate with Mala Beads?

 Meditate with Mala Beads

Meditation is an excellent way to gather your thoughts, reenergize, and gain focus in your life. Although you don’t really need anything but a quiet space and open mind to meditate, mala beads are ideal to have in hand throughout the meditation session.

What Are Mala Beads?

mala beads

Mala beads consist of a string of 108 beads, plus a guru bead. The mala may also contain a tassel which signifies unity. It can also be used as an essential oil diffuser so there’s an invigorating scent in the air as you meditate.

Mala beads were first used in India 3,000 years ago and have roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. Meaning “meditation garland” in Sanskrit, the mala is used to obtain focus while meditating.  

Holding the Mala Beads

Before you start your first meditation session with mala beads, you should know the proper way to hold the mala and use the mala beads. There are two methods of holding and using the mala beads:

  • First method: Hold the mala in your right hand, between your thumb and ring finger. Using both fingers, rotate the mala, a bead at a time.  
  • Second method: Let the mala hang from your middle finger. Use your thumb to rotate the mala, doing so as you take a breath or recite a mantra with each bead.  

You can choose whichever way is most comfortable for you as you work through your meditation. 

It’s also important to not touch the mala with your index finger as it represents ego. In ancient Hinduism, ego impedes self-realization, so you can see why this wouldn’t want to be included in meditation which helps with self-realization.  

Using the Mala Beads in Meditation

Using mala beads will take a little while to get used to but, once you do, you’ll find it to be second nature. It might become so comfortable, that it doesn’t feel right to meditate without them. 

Before you start a meditation session, get comfortable using the beads. Try both methods listed above and see which one works best for you. After you practice with the beads for a while, you can then try to add them to your meditation.  

Some individuals who are new to meditation want to meditate a few times first without the beads to become comfortable with the meditation. Then, once they’ve practiced with the beads in general and then meditated without the beads, they put both together for a well-rounded meditation session. 

Here are the steps for meditating with mala beads: 

Step One: Find a Quiet Place to Sit

buddhist temple

When you meditate, you want to sit in a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Sitting in this type of environment allows you to embrace the silence and regain your focus as you go through your mala beads and recitations. 

Step Two: Move One Bead at a Time

Move One Bead at a Time

Once you find a quiet place to sit, hold your mala beads in your hand. Start at the first bead next to the guru bead. As a side note, you never want to go over the guru bead. You always start right after it and end right before it, completing 108 bead recitations in total.

With each bead that you move, inhale deeply and then exhale deeply. You can also repeat a mantra to yourself silently, such as “I am _____.” Fill in the blank with a word you’re feeling at that time. Maybe you want to say, “I am enough” or “I am strong.” Whichever mantra suits your mood, do this with each bead. 

Step Three: Complete This Process 108 Times

woman using mala beads on meditation

As you meditate, go through each bead individually. Do this until you reach the final bead before you get to the guru bead. If you’re going to do another round of meditation, turn the mala over and begin again. Start moving through the beads that way and remember to never go over the guru bead. 

Step Four: Pause at the Guru Bead to Reflect

yoga practice in nature using mala

When you’ve completed the 108 beads, stop at the guru bead for a moment before doing anything else. Use this time for final reflection and to thank your guru. Think about your mantra one last time and embrace the stillness. If you are only doing one round in your meditation, the session ends there. If you want to go around again, follow the directions mentioned above in step three. 

Meditation with Mala Beads is Easy to Master

Mala beads can be used in a few different ways. One way is to hold the mala beads in your right hand and hold the mala between your thumb and ring finger. Your second finger will then rotate each mala bead one at a time with each breath or mantra. 

Another way to use your mala beads is to hold the mala in your right hand, let the mala hang on your middle finger, and then use your thumb to rotate the mala, one bead at a time. You start the process at the guru bead and continue all the way around until you reach that bead once again.

Whichever method you use, make sure your index finger doesn’t touch the mala. The index finger represents ego which blocks self-realization, according to ancient Hinduism. 

Do You Need a Specific Type of Mala?

Meditating with mala beads is easy to master once you’ve done it a few times. Meditation is a great way to relax and gain focus. It is a great way to clear your blocked chakras. Best of all, it can be accomplished anywhere, so long as you have a quiet space and an open mind to pursue your meditation goals.

Find the mala beads that embody your spirit and way of living and get started meditating today. Perhaps, you can get a mala necklace or maybe a mala bracelet.