Practicing mantra-meditation with the help of a mala
Meditation and mantra practice has been used as a powerful tool for centuries. It can help us to calm, regroup, heal and spiritually evolve into our best selves. First, start by choosing a Mala that feels best to you. In general, go with what inspires you… Let your mala choose you!
Mantra is a wonderful addition to any physical yoga practice with versatile benefits. Not only does repetition of sound vibrate and loosen the fascia (tiny connecting muscle-like tissues) around the head, neck, and shoulder area of the body, it also lengthens the exhale (calming) part of the breath, and provides a calm focus point for the mind. Mantra can be added before, during, or after an asana practice, or, it can be integrated across the entire practice!
All mantra have specific meanings, as well as the unique sounds. A mantra will also promote a physiological response in a practitioner’s body. The lengthening of the exhale and addition of vocal vibrations activate the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a space for the mind to find calmness and relaxation.
How to use a mala
How to use a mala: first, light a candle and then sit down with your mala. The mala should be held with the left hand, and you start your recitation at the first bead after the guru bead. The guru bead is not counted. Mantra meditation is the practice of a word or phrase that you repeat. They are often sanskrit in the Buddhist and Yogic traditions. You can also use an affirmation, like the word “calm” or a healing phrase like “I love myself.”
OM MANI PADME HUM
In Tibetan Buddhism, The Mani Mantra is the Sanskrit mantra of Avolokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. It is as follows: OM MANI PADME HUM, which literally translates as “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus.” It transliterates to: ohm manee padmae hoom. It is considered to be “the sacred six syllables,” as shown here.
The Mani Mantra is the most common Mahayana Buddhist Mantra, that is open for all to chant as a compliment to meditation practice. In Tibetan culture, it is common to see laypeople walking on the street, reciting the mani mantra, semi-audibly. Other mantras and meditation practices should be personally given to you by a Buddhist or Hindu teacher, and should not be recited without instruction. In general, the more ritualized or Tantric Buddhist practices come as an extension of a relationship with a teacher, and are not public. Mantras can be very powerful tools and a personal relationship with a formal teacher and or Sangha (meditation community) is always recommended.
Other Ways to Use Malas
The mind, after time, becomes more controlled and still. Buddhist style meditation helps to break habitual patterns, and become more compassionate, selfless and enlightened beings. The Mani Mantra with the six syllables, correspond the each of these six classes of beings, and when it is recited, and should be done so semi audibly, it is believed to have the power to remove the suffering of all classes of beings. A Buddhist, in their heart while reciting the Mani Mantra, will hold the feeling, “please let my recitation of this mantra help to liberate the suffering and confusion that we all experience in this life.” In turn, by having this proper motivation, one can bring about qualities of being mentally clear, self rested and compassionate.
When sequencing a yoga practice focused on grounding the mind and dispelling anxious feelings, mantra is an excellent tool. Sakura Designs offer a number of specifically crafted mala beads to highlight and deepen the grounding and calming benefits of mantra. Our Malas, like mantra, are useful tools for any practitioner who wishes for a more grounded mind and clearer thoughts. Warmest wishes to all!