[gn_spacer size=”20″]A mala is a string of beads used to count the amount of recitation of a particular mantra. Malas used in the yoga tradition are also called Japa Malas. The word Japa means repetition of a particular mantra. So Japa or Japam is repeating or reciting the mantra.
The Beads of a Mala
A mala has one hunderd and eight beads plus a special bead. This hunderd and nineth bead is called the Meru and represents the Guru of God. You have different types of malas. A normal size mala consists of 108 beads. You have also malas with 27 beads and 1008 beads.
The 27 beads mala is often used to do Japa during restful moments between the day to day activities. It’s small and you can easily keep it in your pocket or bag. The 1008 beads mala is used by yogi’s who have committed to do hunderds of malas of a mantra daily. The main advantage is that they can go on and do 10 rounds at once.
How to use a Mala?
Japa is done starting at the Meru bead and ends at the Meru bead. With each recitation of the mantra, one advances one bead until one round of the mala is completed. Within the yoga tradition it said that you should not cross the Meru. To start off the next round of Japa, just turn around your mala and you are good to go for another round of Japa.
Although a mala has one hundred and eight beads only hunderd is counted per round. The eight recitation are given away to sooth out imperfections in the proces of Japa. This makes counting a little easier. So if you have done 3 rounds of Japa, this makes a total of 300 repititions of the mantra.
How to find the right japa mala
Mala’s are made of a wide variety of materials. Some are made of beads of the Rudraksha tree, some are made of crystral, seeds from the Sandalwood tree and others from the wood of the Tulsi plant. The Rudraksha mala is often used by the followers of Shiva. The Tulsi mala is commenly used by followers of Lord Vishu or Krishna.
Besides these preferences its important to choose a mala that you are atrracted to and fits your need.
Some Great YouTube Videos
- Nice short video of the Himalayan Institute.
- Carolyn Cowan explaining “what is mala” and how its put together.
- Carolyn Cowan explaining “the use of a mala”
This video serves as an introduction to what a mala is and can be viewed along with the video on how to use a mala, which can be found on my channel.
This video serves as an introduction on how to use a mala, and can be viewed along with the video on what a mala is, which can be found on my channel.