Prayer Beads or Malas
Our malas are handcrafted from nature's naturally occurring rocks and minerals, by longtime practicing American yogis working in a meditative state. The intent is one of peace and well-being. There are 108 beads in the malas, threaded on 100% silk cord. Most malas come in 4 versions: medium (6mm) or large (8mm) beads, and knotted or unknotted between each bead.
Click on a Mala Category to view the available selections:
What are Malas?
The true origins of the use of a circle or string of beads to count prayers and as a device for meditation are lost to history, although most scholars agree that the earliest use of prayer beads comes from India in the 8th century B.C.E. The word mala in Sanskrit translates roughly as 'garland' and is associated with both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The tradition of using beads in religious devotion can be traced from there, first spreading to Asia and then through the Middle East and to Medieval Europe. Some Native Americans used beaded belts and bracelets (known as wampum) as a form of money, a device for memory, as diplomatic or ceremonial tools, and to pass on cultural knowledge, rituals and tradition - however they are not known to have used them as a daily devotional tool like the mala or rosary.
Prayer beads are now a near-universal spiritual item, and have variations in most of the world's major religions - from the Christian rosary to the Arabic tasbih. Malas have even briefly entered mainstream consciousness in the form of power beads worn on the wrist by everyone from celebrities to teenage girls.
This ancient ritual tool has been used by countless people through the ages to help them attain meditative states, relieve stress and worry and provide a concrete tool for counting one's prayers or recitations in their spiritual practice.
The appeal of malas is easy to understand - pick up any strand of fine beads and roll them through your fingers. The effect is almost instantly noticeable. You feel the smooth surfaces begin to glide and roll, almost by themselves, and as you begin to explore the strand, your mind calms, your breathing slows, and you focus on the simple act of moving from bead to bead. When this simple act is combined with a short prayerful recitation and the intent and focus of a spiritual practice, their true power is revealed.
The traditional form of the mala comes with 108 beads which is occasionally broken into 4 groups of 27 by 3 additional beads (this is more common with Tibetan Buddhist malas) and almost always are terminated by a larger bead with a tassel which is known as the "guru" bead. The "meru" bead as it is known in Hinduism, is placed there to indicate when the cycle of chants has been completed. Traditionally, when the "meru" bead has been reached, the mala is actually turned around and the counting is reversed across the same beads until the devotee reaches the "meru" bead again, at which time the mala is again turned around. It is considered disrespectful to "cross over" the "guru" bead as it contains all the power and energy created by the chanting and counting of prayers, and also represents one’s teachers or spiritual guides. In the Hindu faith, the middle finger and thumb are the only ones allowed to count the mala, however, they are the only ones with this strict rule.
There are many ways possible to use the malas, and we encourage you to explore the ones which call to you. The most important thing to remember is the intent and love that you have when you are using them.