All About Malas

hand holding malas

Why do so many cultures use beads and how do they use them?

There are worry beads, prayer ropes, rosary beads, prayer beads, and malas, yet another kind of beads!

Greece and Turkey have worry beads which are simply used for self calming or just to pass the time. Catholics have rosary beads for counting prayers. Prayer ropes are used by counting knots in the rope to track the number of prayers offered. Prayer ropes are most common in Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy such as Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox churches. Africa has both worry beads and prayer ropes.

Malas are yet another style of beads used by the different sects of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam to count mantras, chants and prayers.

Now that yoga and meditation have spread across the planet, malas are used for multiple purposes outside of religious contexts.

Many common examples are counting mantras, breath, chants and affirmations, all with an intention of creating a calm and focused mind, reducing stress, quieting mind chatter and settling ourselves into a more neutral, quiet state of body and mind that could be recognized as peacefulness or equanimity.

If we can accomplish greater stillness of mind and body, we will experience greater peace of mind, less anxiety and nervousness in our body, as well as calmer emotions.

From that place we can make better choices, wiser decisions, become more neutral, less attached and less judgmental. More patience, greater tolerance and a reduction of anger and fear also come with this practice.

All good things, I’m sure you would agree.

Studies show that meditation can also increase our creativity as well as our productivity, and that we will experience better health, including lower blood pressure and less anxiety. We will even sleep better!

The studies also show that as a result of all those improvements, it is likely that our relationships will improve, career opportunities will open up and general happiness will become our new norm. We will experience greater ease as our life comes into greater balance and harmony.

And then, there are the more subtle changes, such as greater intuition and access to new perspectives within our own knowing, a thing that has to be experienced to be understood — it’s a game changer, for sure!

Who wouldn’t invest a few minutes per day for all these gains? Wouldn’t it be worth it for even a few of them? Physical, mental, emotional, stress reduction, health, happiness, creativity, productivity, peacefulness, better relationships, greater intuition, better sleep, balance, harmony, ease and more! 

If you can pick just three of these that you would love to experience regularly, then stay tuned. We have meditation classes coming up soon!  

If you don’t yet have a mala and would like one, we have some Fair Trade, eco, handmade beauties here.


1 comment

  • Thanks, PlanetJoy . . . One of the benefits I find when using malas is the the easy connection made between mind and body. The simple act of counting beads in our hands while focusing on a prayer or intention or attending to in-and-out breaths helps to coordinate our physiology and our psychology (as well as our embodied spirit). It is a naturally soothing practice. I look forward to hearing more about PlanetJoy’s upcoming meditation classes.


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