I’m a big fan of yoga and meditation, as you may know, and I’m always on the lookout for ideas to promote mindfulness. My oldest son, the College Kid, took a Yoga Comprehension class last year and had a million questions about yoga for me.
Okay, in fairness to me, I know a little about a lot of different kinds of yoga. I’ve tried several different disciplines; Hatha, Vinyasa and Bikram, but have no specific preference. I feel totally comfortable using individual aspects of different customs in my own personal practice of yoga, but I wanted to attempt to be as eclectically knowledgeable my son expected me to be.
“…Mala are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This sādhanā (practice) is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads. In Tibetan Buddhism, malas of 108 beadsare used.” (from Wikipedia).
I’m not Tibetan, but I know a beneficial existential support when I see one! My first attempt at mala turned out well, but at 108 beads just too long. Not only from a length standpoint (they twisted halfway to my elbow when I tried to get them out of the way) but also from a mantra standpoint. I began by using the Jesus Mantra:
Lord Jesus Christ, son of God (on the inhale)
Have mercy on me a sinner (on the exhale)
My intentions were good but my ADHD brain just couldn’t hack it. For a more manageable size and time commitment I wanted to try a mala bracelet,also commonly called a yoga bracelet (hey alright), so I started the YouTube search. I found this vid and it helped me a lot, although I must admit not entirely my style.
I’ve become a true “om” lover. I find that, for me, it contributes to relaxation and centering in a pinch.
My first bracelet was made from 11 large wooden beads; 10 smooth and 1 textured. The textured bead allows me to do multiple repetitions (like 33 of the Jesus Mantra or just my new stand-by “om”) when I need a small, intentional break from the chaos that is my daily life.
As I became more comfortable with my bracelet, I became intrigued by the use of specific healing stones… But that’s tomorrow’s post!