For centuries, Buddhists and Hindus have used mala beads as meditation tools to help keep count of mantras and prayers. They assist in a practice called japa, which literally translates to "repetition" in Sanskrit.
Different malas are made up of different numbers and styles of beads. Though the most popular bead count is 108, they can also come in counts of 9, 18, 27, and so on. Buddhists malas are often made up of different types of wood, such as sandalwood, and hints of stones such as turquoise. In Hinduism, you will find malas made with rudraksha, which is considered a very holy and protective seed.
Nowadays, malas are popular among the yoga community and can be found on the wrists and necks of yogis everywhere. You don't necessarily need a meditation or japa practice to wear these grounding beads. You can simply wear a mala with intention and choose stones and crystals that symbolize what it is you want to attract or dispel.
From my experience studying crystals and working with malas over the past four years, I've come to realize that the right mala will often choose you. I would say 99 percent of the time, people are inherently attracted to the stones and crystals that have properties they actually need.
But the variety of choices out there these days makes choosing the right mala an overwhelming task for a lot of spiritual seekers. If you feel called to too many styles, stones, and colors, try making the decision a little more personal. Here is a list of malas to complement every personality type. Happy shopping!
How to choose the right mala for your personality
1. If you're hyper and active
If you possess these qualities, chances are you have a lot of fire in you. Soothing aquamarine, calming amazonite, and purifying amethyst can all help balance the heat and bring it down a notch.
2. If you're a communicator
Apatite is a great stone for clear communication, and it's perfect for writers, publishers, and journalists.
3. If you're anxious
If you have high levels of anxiety, chances are you need to ground yourself. Stones such as smoky quartz release anxiety and negativity while moonstone can aid in emotional balance and help you get centered.
4. If you're a creative
Rose quartz may be the ultimate love stone, but it also enhances creativity with a loving, nurturing energy that encourages great ideas to flow.
5. If you're a healer
If they don’t properly take care of themselves, healers can give too much of their own energy to others. Stones like tourmaline, the ultimate protection stone, and energy-cleansing clear quartz are great options.
6. If you're an entrepreneur
Powerful citrine is great for go-getters and business owners, as it can help you connect with your own power and attract money...who doesn't want that?
7. If you're a spiritual soul
Amethyst can deepen any meditation by connecting you to a higher source of energy.
Identify with more than one personality type on this list and still not sure which stone to choose? A mala's color can also help you home in on the perfect one, depending on what exactly you want to invite into your life. Here's what each color represents:
How to choose the right mala color
Blue: calm and peace
Green: financial abundance
After you find a mala you identify with, you can start using it with this guided meditation technique:
How to meditate using malas
1. Sit in a comfortable crossed-legged position on a cushion or blanket.
2. Inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale out your mouth. Repeat this three times.
3. Malas usually have a guru bead that indicates where the mala ends and begins. Start with the first bead—the guru bead. Use your thumb and middle finger to count.
4. Pick a mantra. It could be as easy as Om Shanti or "I am peace." For each bead, repeat the mantra until you reach the end of the mala cycle.
5. Always sit for a few minutes after you are finished. Notice your breath and whether it has changed the way you feel. Just observe.
6. Bring your hands into prayer and bow your head, giving thanks for your efforts and to the light within. Sit back and see what a difference it makes in your day!