Mala beads are an ancient garland in Indian dating back to 3000 years ago to help focus during Japa Meditation. Mala beads go far beyond Buddhism and Hinduism and are used by many people around the world to help with spiritual practices. Mala beads have also become a statement fashion accessory to be worn by women all around the world. A Mala (for short) is a string of beads used to traditionally chant mantras in sets of 108. 108 beads are strung, each one counted to recite a mantra* or intention.
*More about mantras in my meditation post found here
The purpose of the repetition is to allow the word or words we are saying to sink into our subconscious so that we truly believe and feel what we are saying (ex. “I am love”, “I am peace”, “I am thou”, etc) and replacing any negative vibes with positive ones. Malas can be worn around the neck, wrist or just held in your hands while meditation (or even when you aren’t). Even without meditation, Mala beads when worn still carry powerful properties, including healing properties; as well providing a reminder to live your life to the fullest.
Why 108? Well there are many different reasons, for one, the number 108 is a spiritually significant number. Other reasons are related to houses and planets (12 houses and 9 planets =18), there are 108 earthly desires, 108 Upanishads (texts of wisdom) 108 energy lines converging the heart chakra, and etc. *
* If you wish to know more about this check out Mystical Guide to Mala Beads by Tiny Devotions
While Mala beads can be purchased in many places such as yoga/meditation studios and boutiques around Toronto, as well as online, they can range anywhere from $80 upwards to $200. They are extremely expensive because each are hand-made beauties. But they are (relatively) easy to make and when DIY-ed only cost you about $30-50 depending on the materials you choose. Note: be careful when selecting your gemstones as some are dyed to appear like the real ones (ex. Turquonite is dyed to appear like turquoise however will not hold the same powerful properties), make sure to ask the sales associate if you have any questions.
Mala beads are typically made of semi-precious gemstones, wood or metals (Note: do not mix glass beads into your Mala beads as it decreases its significance).
You can use sandalwood (quite expensive and difficult to find), Rudraksha or Rosewood. Sandalwood is a sacred wood that it very difficult to find nowadays (so be careful when you see them at a good price because often they are a scam – cheaper wood fragranced with sandalwood to mimic it). If found, Sandalwood has great benefits as the aromatic scent brings awareness and concentration aiding in your meditation practice. Rudraksha is a seed from the Rudraksha fruit, it resembles something like brains because of lumpy exterior. These beads have a legend behind them that have said to lead the ones who wear it down the path of enlightenment. Rosewood is an even more rare wood that is extremely holy in India, known as the “remover of obstacles” and believed to manifest deep desires and dreams of the beholder.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 108 beads (6mm or 8 mm) + 3 spacers (I did 42 Rose Quartz and 66 White Jade)
- Silk String (5 meters – 2.5 meters folded)
- Tape measurer
- Jump Rings
- A tassel
- Needle, Threader
WHAT TO DO
The method is actually pretty simple, it just requires a lot of time, patience and precision. First cut the length of string you need, and fold it in half. String through your needle. Make sure that both ends of the string are even, with your threader/needle looped in. Now that they are even, pull on of the strings so that it is about 10 inches longer (you’ll need this later). Tie a knot at the two ends, with the threader needle hanging even at the opposite end.
Begin to string your beads through. I did the pattern 21, spacer, 66, spacer, 21, guru bead. If you want you can do 27, spacer, 27, spacer, 27, spacer, 27, guru bead. Begin by putting the first bead in, and then tying a knot right at the base of the bead, then string your next bead, and tie again. Continue this with your first set of beads, then add your spacer bead using the same technique and so on.
Once you complete all your beads it’s time for you to add your guru bead (I just used the same stone as my spacer beads as my guru bead). String the guru bead through the end you’ve been working on. Now grab the other side and use that 10 inches of string I told you to leave out earlier and string that through the guru bead. The two ends of the necklace should be strung together by that single guru bead. Tie a sturdy knot at the end of guru bead.
For your tassel, you can leave it at that and string it through the strings on the necklace or you can add charms to it like I did. Pick up some charms (or charm) and attach them to the looped string of the tassel with a jump ring (use your pliers to help). Once your charms are secured on your tassel you can attach your tassel to the rest of the necklace. Again, make sure you tie a secure knot.
HOW TO WEAR
You can wear your Mala beads all the time, any way you want. Here are some ways you can wear and hold your beads while meditating or going about your day.
I hope you enjoyed this blogpost about beautiful Malas, including a DIY project and styling tips. If you have any further questions regarding Mala beads leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks loves and have an amazing day!