What is a Japa Mala and how is it used?
November 10, 2014
In the Vedic or Hindu tradition from which yoga comes, it is held in the right hand and the beads are passed between the thumb and middle fingers. The thumb represents universal consciousness and the middle finger purity or sattva guna. The japa mala has a bead number 109 larger than the others from which a plume of threads hangs and which represents the sacred mount Meru, the abode of the gods in this tradition.Different materials can be used in the making of a japa mala. Sometimes they are made with seeds of plants such as the lotus or tulsi or with wood such as that of the sandalwood or rosebush. There are also animal bones and semiprecious stones such as amethyst or carnelian.
To use it, sit in a meditative posture in a quiet place and choose your mantra. Hold the japa mala in your right hand and begin to thread the beads between your thumb and middle finger, starting at the top of the cord and repeating the mantra once for each bead. You don't want to go over the thickest bead, so when you finish a round, if you want to continue another round, turn the mala over and start again going in the opposite direction. You can repeat the mantra out loud, in a whisper, or silently. Be sure to close your eyes and breathe evenly to encourage concentration, tune in to the quality of the mantra you are repeating, and…let yourself be carried away by the magic of the sacred sounds! Discover our selection of japa malas and bracelets at YogaYe.com.