Today I bought a mala necklace. And I feel like a hippy. (In fact, for anyone who knows, a mala doesn’t need the word necklace after it – it just is a necklace. It’s like when people say SEO Optimisation. You’re actually saying ‘Search Engine Optimisation Optimisation’.) As you can see, I’m a novice with mala. I’d seen them on people (mainly yogi types) and often half wished I could pull one off as well as being put off by the chunky beads and length. As it happens, I don’t wear much jewellery. I’m wonder if this has tipped me over the edge to hippieness.
I love shopping at stalls. there’s something exciting and thrilling about it. Often, the products are handmade (bonus) and their maker has an interesting story to tell (double bonus). Standard shops are boring. At Yoga Connects, the first UK yoga festival, I made sure I went and visited each and every stall (there weren’t too many to make this a hard feat).
Having been told recently that the stones I had would be better placed under my pillow rather than hidden away in my underwear drawer, I was naturally drawn to a stall that had baskets of stones. Just in case my current collection of stones needed a friend.
Alongside the stones were malas and other jewellery, each piece made by Helen. Helen, by day, is normally a Sixth Form teacher in London. At the weekends and at night, she is Chant Yoga Jewellery. The malas were pretty, but again, I wasn’t really hippie enough to wear one, even though I wanted to be.
A short time later, I found myself admiring Ellie from Positivitea’s (another story) mala. Hers was from Chant Yoga and she’d had hers specially made. And as if the universe wasn’t throwing me a big enough sign, Helen walked over right that minute. I told her I liked them (not the ones with the tassles) and asked her to pick me out three that I could choose from.
I’m wearing the mala I chose whilst writing this but at the time I couldn’t decide. Amethyst draws me in yet I can’t accept the colour purple. I ditched the black stone because it had white specks in and whilst I like pure black stones, I don’t like black and white stones. The pink was too pretty. I ended up choosing one with a mottled green and brown Rhyolite.
Why I bought a mala
Malas aren’t really that ‘pretty’. I bought mine because of the stones used in it and because of its traditional uses. Used by hindus and Buddhists, it’s used to help with prayer or meditation. By flicking through the beads and saying your mantra, it helps you focus on the sound of it without having to remember to count. In both Hinduism and Buddhism, the number 108 is of importance and so on malas, there are 108 beads and the head bead – the big one.
I’ve been feeling a desire to get back into vedic meditation yet my concentration is terrible. I’d recently set aside time each week as meditation time so, with my mala, I was all set!
Helen also ‘powers-up’ her malas with significant stones. With a sandalwood base (smells good), my mala also has:
Kiwi Jasper which is a nurturing stone that supports us during times of stress and brings tranquility.
Raw Beryl which helps us deal with stress and rid ourselves of unnecessary baggage. It also helps to actualise potential.
Rhodochrosite which boosts self-confidence.
Garnet which energises and cleanses the chakras, inspiring love and devotion.
Howlite which helps with meditation as well as releasing attachments linking old emotional pain from this life or a past life, to the present.
Rhyolite (the head bead) which is for balancing and helping with self-esteem and emotional strength.
I love this. I feel braver and stronger and more ready to face what’s coming next, after a particularly hard few years.
So sorry guys, I’ve turned into a hippie. The next thing you know, I’ll be talking to stones (oh wait, I already do that…)