Mala (Garland or Rosary) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Yoga Philosophy Glossary

I. What is a Mala (Garland or Rosary)?

A Mala, also known as a garland or rosary, is a string of beads traditionally used in Hindu and Buddhist practices for meditation, prayer, and mantra recitation. The word “Mala” is derived from the Sanskrit word for “garland” or “meditation garland.” Malas are typically made up of 108 beads, although there are variations with different numbers of beads. The beads are strung together on a thread or string, with a larger bead known as the “guru bead” or “meru bead” at the center.

II. How is a Mala used in Yoga Philosophy?

In yoga philosophy, the Mala is used as a tool to help focus the mind during meditation and mantra recitation. The repetitive motion of moving the beads through the fingers helps to calm the mind and bring a sense of peace and mindfulness. By using a Mala during meditation, practitioners can deepen their concentration and connect more deeply with their spiritual practice.

III. What are the different materials used to make a Mala?

Malas can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own significance and energy. Some common materials used to make Malas include gemstones, wood, seeds, and crystals. Gemstone Malas are believed to have specific healing properties and energies, while wood Malas are often used for grounding and stability. Seed Malas, such as Rudraksha seeds, are considered sacred in Hindu tradition and are believed to have protective and healing properties.

IV. How many beads are typically found on a Mala?

Traditionally, a Mala consists of 108 beads, which is a sacred number in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The number 108 is believed to represent the universe, with each bead symbolizing a mantra or prayer recitation. In addition to the 108 beads, Malas often include a guru bead or meru bead, which is larger than the other beads and represents the connection to the divine or the teacher.

V. What is the significance of using a Mala in meditation and mantra recitation?

Using a Mala in meditation and mantra recitation can help to deepen one’s spiritual practice and connection to the divine. The repetitive motion of moving the beads through the fingers can help to quiet the mind and focus the attention on the present moment. By reciting a mantra or prayer with each bead, practitioners can cultivate a sense of peace, mindfulness, and inner strength.

VI. How can one choose the right Mala for their practice?

When choosing a Mala for meditation and mantra recitation, it is important to consider the materials used, the energy of the beads, and your own personal intentions and goals. If you are looking for grounding and stability, you may choose a Mala made from wood or seeds. If you are seeking healing and protection, you may opt for a gemstone Mala. It is also important to choose a Mala that resonates with you on a spiritual level and reflects your own unique energy and intentions. Ultimately, the right Mala for your practice is one that speaks to your heart and supports your spiritual journey.