I first fell in love with malas several years ago, while living in St John's, NL. I was teaching yoga in a studio space above a shop that carried yoga clothing, equipment and other items. While walking by the counter one day I noticed a beautiful rose, smokey quartz and sandalwood mala in the display cabinet. I had been exposed to malas and japa meditation through my yoga training and practice, but there was something about the combination of sandalwood and crystals that really pulled me in. My husband gifted the mala to me for mother's day that year, and my love affair with crystal based malas was born. I found some beautiful pieces at Tiny Devotions (a company based out of California) but hadn't really considered making my own.
Flash forward several years to Victoria, BC. I found a fantastic company here in town, Shanti Collective that was hosting a beautiful evening of mala making at an outdoor cafe outside of town the summer before last. I loved the process of selecting crystals and stringing together the mala. It was a beautiful experience of connection and camaraderie, putting together my mala with a lovely group of women. I attended several more workshops with Shanti Collective, each one increasing my love of crafting malas and deepening my connection to the meaning and resonance of crystals. I gifted each of the malas I made to friends and family members, investing each one with positive thoughts and intentions for the person I was creating the mala for.
A few months ago I was able to track down the materials I needed and I started crafting my own malas, investigating stone combinations and themes even further. I love the process of selecting specific stones with their corresponding meaning and intention, and stringing them into a necklace that is both beautiful and functional. I have several malas and I find each one resonates in a different way. This process has helped me deepen and further trust my intuition, as often the mala I reach for (or the mala I am constructing) combines the exact elements I or the person I am crafting the mala for needs at that point in time.
I love that malas can be used in multiple ways. I practice japa meditation, selecting a word or mantra that I then repeat while skimming my fingers over each bead. I find the repetition helps lull me into a deep state of meditation and further integrates the core word or phrase I am focusing on that day. For an overview on japa meditation along with additional meditation resources, click here. I also find my malas function as talismans, the stones are helpful in guiding me through challenging periods of my life, and also help to support and serve as reminders for areas of my life that I am working on or working through.
Malas are necklaces made up of 108 beads, plus a guru stone (or tassle). This central stone serves as a focus point for the intention of the mala and meditation practice, as well as signifying the beginning and ending of the japa meditation sequence. 108 is considered to be a sacred number as there are said to be 108 upanishads (sacred Hindu texts), as well as 108 sacred places in the body. 108 also occurs in astrology, with the 9 planets times the 12 astrological houses equalling the number 108. For more exploration into the significance of the number 108, you can click here.
I have also branched out to making stacks of bracelets, that can be paired with a mala to increase the impact of the crystals chosen, or worn independently. I like to work in threes, and find a single bracelet of each crystal selected paired with a bracelet that combines both along with a grounding stone or bead (in most cases lava stone or sandalwood) helps to bring the intention of the bracelet together, I wear my malas and stacks every day, they help me stay grounded and focused in my intention, and bringing japa meditation into my yoga and meditation practice has deepened both of these disciplines further.
I have created a selection of different malas and stacks on my Etsy page (which you can find here) or on my store page (which you can find here) and I am also happy to put together custom pieces, which focus on the things you most want to work through or concentrate on at this point in time. You are more than welcome to contact me via Etsy or at firstname.lastname@example.org for any custom orders.
Please note that use of crystals, malas and stacks are not a substitute for medical care, if you are dealing with any health challenges please be sure to contact a health care provider.
I have obtained the majority of my crystal information from The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall, a wonderful resource for understanding crystals and their properties.