How do I use a Mala for Meditation

Establishing a Mindful Practice, Japa meditation—could be the key to finally loving meditation.

You've no doubt heard about all the benefits of meditation, and how mindfulness can improve your life in every aspect—but for meditation to be effective we really need to tune into the the practice, and to do that we need to really enjoy it. 

Mantras, when used during meditation help the mind to become steady and calm, using a mala to count the mantra repetition helps remain focused and tuned into the practice which can offer immense support to overcome the constant chatter of the mind.

Traditionally a mala has 108 beads plus one guru bead at the end of the mala, just above the tassle. We can decide on the number of mala rounds we will do with mantra and that determines the length of the meditation. It’s much easier and more natural than watching a clock, and also gives you a goal which helps to steady and focus the mind. 

If you normally have trouble reining in a wandering mind during meditation, a mantra repeated while moving the mala provides both a mental and physical way to stay connected and present with the meditation. 

Because a mantra has a beneficial and positive vibration, they offer  specific help to interrupt the negative thought patterns and to connect your spiritual energy with consciousness.

How to Use Mala Beads for Japa Meditation

  1. Get comfortable. Find a place (on a cushion, chair, or the floor) where you can sit tall and comfortably. Hold the mala in your right hand resting on your thigh and draped over your third finger, let your thumb touch this finger so the mala doesn’t fall off. You'll move the mala with your middle / second finger.
  2. Repeat your mantra. I often recommend Om SoHam (I am That) or Om Namaha Shivaya (I am Pure Consciousness)
  3. Using the Mantra and Mala. To use the mala, you turn each bead with you second (middle finger) and use your thumb to help. Repeat the mantra once mentally and the move the bead along, touching the next bead and repeating the mantra again, continue until you reach the end (the guru bead) of the mala. Do not cross teh Guru bead, honour it at the sense of completion that comes with one round and either finish your meditation by chanting OM three times or turning the mala around and continuing one more round of 108 mantra repetitions in teh other direction. 
  4. If you get distracted. Dont worry! Just re-focus on teh mantra and mala, even if you’ve missed a few just keep going.
  5. On the Go with it. A Mala bracelet is the perfect way to slip in a few mantras and practice during the day, while your sitting on the bus, in the train or waiting for an appointment you can slip off your bracelet and mentally chant away, re-focusing your mind amidst the hustle. It’s extremely satisfying and often proof of how powerful and effective mantra meditation is.
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