What are Japa Malas?
A japa mala, also know as mala, is a string of beads (most commonly 108) used as a meditation tool and usually worn around the neck or looped around your wrist as a bracelet.
Asian traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism have been using them for thousands of years. It plays an important role in the yogic tradition which brought it to the Western world in the early / mid 20th century when yoga and meditation started to be widely practiced there.
What are japa Malas Made of?
Most japa malas are made of 108 beads + 1 meru bead and a tassel.
The 108 beads represent the universe and how all parts of the Universe are interconnected and united.
The meru bead (the one hanging down on your chest when you wear is around your neck and also know as "semeru" or "guru" bead) represents God and is not part of the mantra count. This bead symbolizes our connection to Gurus and the divine and the deep gratitude felt towards them. Returning to technicality, It indicates you just finished a 108 mantra cycle and are about to start a new one.
The tassel, hanging threads knotted at the end of your japa mala, represents the connection to your higher self. It also serves to diffuse essential oils while meditating.
Although commonly used to help the mind focus and ease into meditative state, malas are also great for the properties of their beads. They are made of natural wood beads, seeds and gemstones. Traditional ones were made of rudraksha or sandal wood beads.
How to care for your meditation mala?
Malas are beautiful and delicate pieces of jewellery and should be cherished and taken care of.
Store your mala in its bag in a clean and dry place. If you have an altar or a "special" place where you meditate, keep it there.
Being more than a gem (it helps you connect to your higher self / soul through meditation), you should honour it and have some kind of a ritual before wearing it (like bringing it to your forehead where the third eye is located).
Tradition says that you should not lend it or let anyone touch it.
if you opt for a gemstones mala, you might want to recharge the stones in the sun and below the moon every month.
More about Ananda Hum Malas
Our malas are all made of 108 knotted beads. They are handmade in Spain and all beads are carefully selected to ensure quality, durability and aesthetics. We offer a wide range of different set bead compositions and you can also contact us to design your own based on bead/colour preferences. Alternatively, if you are looking for specific bead properties, we can also create your mala on demand.
Check out our beautiful selection of meditation malas here.