Home » What are Mala Beads | Types of Mantras and Chants

What are Mala Beads | Types of Mantras and Chants

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What are Mala Beads?

Japa Beads Picture | The Yoga Chick

I was super excited when we learned about mala beads during my yoga teacher training.  Mala beads are a string of beads used during meditation or chanting. They have been used by yogis and spiritual seekers for thousands of years to help keep their minds focused during meditation. They also hold the energy of the mantra that you are chanting.

Mala beads offer a simple way to keep count of how many mantras you have said.  Generally, meditation practices include a mantra that is repeated a specific number of times.  We were taught to recite each mantra 108 times for 40 days straight. A mala also usually has 108 beads.  (Some have more). The thought process behind the 108 is that you should say each mantra 100 times but the extra 8 accounts for any times that you may have said it incorrectly.

I ordered a set of sandalwood mala beads and then finally came in.  It seemed like it took forever.

What is a Mantra?

A mantra is a repetitive phrase that is repeated in order to manifest something.  It shifts the energy within us. A mantra practice can reprogram behaviors, break patterns, and even build new patterns.

Common Uses and Types of Mantras

Some people may chant mantras to find calm or peace, healing for self or another, remove obstacles, and/or find a clear path.  There are a few types of mantras.  Two of them are:

  • Saguna – Saguna mantras are sometimes called deity mantras because they often focus on some form of the divine.  Example: Om Gam Ganapataye Namah – This mantra is recited for the power of Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles to success.
  • Nirguna –  Nigrguna mantras are less specific than Saguna.  They do not appeal to a particular deity, object or idol.  Example: Aham Prema – I am Divine Love.  This mantra is recited to tap into the highest form of love.

Choosing a Mantra

If you’d like to start a mantra practice, you may wonder how do you choose a mantra.  You may find a mantra from a teacher or you may find one based on the desired manifestation.  No matter how you choose, make sure you set your intention at the beginning before you chant the first verse.

Mala Beads Picture

One of my favorite mantras is the Rama Mantra.  It goes, “Om Sri Rama Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama.”  This translates to, “Om to Rama and his consort, victory to Rama, victory, victory again to Rama.”  This mantra is great for reducing fear and anger, and for spiritual liberation. (Lord Rama is a Hindi God and author of The Ramayana).

No matter which mantra you select (or how you select it), I would advise that you try it out for the full 40 days.  If you are really connecting with it, maybe you chant it beyond the 40 days. Maybe you don’t feel the connection, so you switch to a different mantra.  Maybe you do feel the connection but after the 40 days, you decide to manifest something different. There is no right or wrong answer. A mantra practice is a very personal thing and ultimately you decide what feels right to you.

Amazon offers a pretty expansive selection of mala beads if you’d like to purchase your own.

What are Mala Beads | The Yoga Chick

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