What is a Mala and how can you use her?
A mala is a Tibetan string of prayer beads that consists of one hundred and eight beads. One hundred and eight is a sacred number. When you add the numbers 1 + 0 + 8 the result is 9, this is the number of completion.
Malas are often used for keeping count while reciting a mantra during a meditation. A mantra is the chanting of a sound, word or sentence that helps your concentration during a meditation. To count your mantras you drape your mala across your middle finger or ring finger (preferably not on your index finger, since that one represents the ego). After reciting the mantra, you use your thumb to move up one bead.
The extra bead at the bottom near the tassels is called the sumeru, or as I like to call it: the mother bead. This bead represents the Crown Chakra (the consciousness). The mother bead does not function as a prayer bead, but marks the starting point, turning point and the finishing point of the Mala and is never passed over.
The practice begins at the bead left of the mother bead and continues around the loop, until the mother bead is reached again. This process symbolizes “taking time for reflection”. If you plan to do more than one round, the mala is turned around to proceed again in the reverse direction, so the last bead becomes the first bead of the new round.
The last eight beads of a round are devoted to the wholeness of all that lives, in other words: to compassion for all living creatures.
A mala gains energy with every meditative round.