How to Use a Mala and Choose!
Meditation and mantra practice has been used as a powerful tool for centuries to calm, regroup, heal and spiritually evolve into our best selves. First, start by choosing a Mala that feels best to you. You can choose by Healing Property or Birthstone, or use our birthday numerology calculator to choose the right healing prayer beads for you. You can also choose by the type of meditation mantra practice that you may have started. For peaceful mantra meditation practices, you can choose crystal or lapis. Bone and Rudraksha are used often for wrathful practices. If you are doing prostrations, Bodhi, Sandalwood or Rosewood work well. Most beads are full sized, standard 8mm. In general, go with what inspires… Let your mala choose you!
Mantra is a wonderful addition to any physical yoga practice with many varying benefits. Not only does repetition of sound vibrate and loosen the fascia (tiny muscles) around the head, neck, and shoulder area of the body, it also lengthens the exhale (calming) part of the breath, and provides a calm focus point for the mind. Mantra, added before, during, or after an asana practice, or, it can be integrated across the entire practice!
All mantra have specific meanings, but no matter the unique sounds, any mantra will also promote a physiological response in a practitioner’s body. The lengthening of the exhale and addition of vocal vibrations activate the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a space for the mind to find calm and relaxation.
How to Use a Mala for Mantra
How to use a mala: first, light a candle and then sit down with your mala. The mala should be held with the left hand, and you start your recitation at the first bead after the guru bead. The guru bead is not counted. Mantra meditation is the practice of a word or phrase that you repeat. They are often sanskrit in the Buddhist and Yogic traditions. You can also use an affirmation, like the word “calm” or a healing phrase like “I love myself.”In Tibetan Buddhism, The Mani Mantra is the Sanskrit mantra of Avolokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. It is as follows: OM MANI PADME HUM, which literally translates as “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus.” It transliterates to: ohm manee padmae hoom. It is considered to be “the sacred six syllables,” as shown here.
The Mani Mantra is the most common Mahayana Buddhist Mantra, that is open for all to chant as a compliment to meditation practice. In Tibetan culture, it is common to see laypeople walking on the street, reciting the mani mantra, semi-audibly. Other mantras and meditation practices should be personally given to you by a Buddhist or Hindu teacher, and should not be recited without instruction. In general, the more ritualized or Tantric Buddhist practices come as an extension of a relationship with a teacher, and are not public. Mantras can be very powerful tools and a personal relationship with a formal teacher and or Sangha (meditation community) is always recommended.
Connect to Inner Stillness, Settling
In Tibetan Buddhism, there are considered to be six classes of beings, that take birth. Some of these beings are perceptible to an ordinary person, some are not. They are: Gods, Jealous Gods, Humans, Animals, Ghosts and Hungry Ghosts, and being who have unfortunately taken birth what the Buddhist’s consider an impermanent “hell”. These beings have taken birth due to the karma of believing in a permanent “self.” Until attaining enlightenment, we are stuck in an endless cycle of birth and death, creating for the most part, the “8 worldly concerns,” namely: pleasure and pain, loss and gain, praise and blame, and finally, disgrace and fame (these are easily remembered as they do rhyme!) Being caught up in this cycle of both having things work out for us, or not creates more suffering, attachment and karma with each day. The recitation of sacred syllables called mantra like the Mani Mantra is belived to have the power to liberate all classes of beings. Sitting meditation is the most expedient method to break these patterns, and open the mind and heart.
Once you have chosen your mantra, you may want to use pieces or single sounds from it during your practice. An example of this would be, when using the mantra, "Om" (Aum) as your chosen mantra, to exhale with a long "ah" sound during a standing forward fold or any other slow, simple, movement into an asana. Repeating this sound during asana practice readies the mind and the breath for a seated mantra practice following your asana work.