How to choose & activate your mala beads

We chose our malas in very different ways so we wanted to share both perspectives.

Perspective 1

A mala was one of the things that really helped me quiet my mind during meditation - a mala that I selected carefully, activated with my own intentions and is very special to me. My very first mala is the same one that I still use every day during meditation. I do wear other mala necklaces and bracelets because I like the way they look and the meaning of the stones depending on what is going on in my life at the time. They are my go to reminder to stay present as life gets crazy.

For my meditation practice, I took “choosing a mala” pretty seriously. I wanted to make sure that the mala I selected had 108 beads, preferably hand knotted, and with stones that were meaningful to what I am trying to manifest in my life. To me, that meaning was more important than the mala’s appearance because I intended to use it only for meditation instead of an accessory to my wardrobe. Since then, I have acquired my “daily malas” that are special to me in a different way. They are more about the way they look and feel while still serving as a reminder to stay present throughout the day.

I activated my mala before using it for the first time in meditation. Activating a mala helps to create a deeper connection with the healing properties of the stones and enhances the ability of the mala to manifest one’s intentions by attuning them to your own energy.

I didn’t look for the scientific studies that proved that activation worked, rather I thought, “Why not give it a try? I could use all the help I can get these days!” I clarified my intention and condensed it into a mantra. It’s very important to phrase your mantra in the present tense in order to represent your intention as something you have achieved. Instead of saying, “I want to be more grateful,” try “I am grateful.” Instead of “I don’t want to be so fearful,” say “I am fearless.” Select whatever mantra feels right to you to achieve or create something in your life.

Truthfully, I like rituals, and activating my mala made me feel the energy and attention I gave it was a sacred act that truly manifested my intention in my life.

How to activate your mala

  1. Find a quiet place to sit.
  2. Hold your mala beads in your hands. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Return to your normal breathing pattern and focus on your breath. Feel how it moves in your body with each inhalation and exhalation.
  4. Now focus on your intention and mantra.
  5. Hold your mala in your right hand hanging between the thumb and the middle finger with the index finger pointed outward. Now place your thumb on the first bead and repeat your mantra.
  6. Use your thumb to rotate the mala toward you, one bead at a time. With each bead take a breath and repeat your mantra until you have made it all the way around.  
  7. With the mala beads enclosed in your hands, bring both hands in a prayer position to your heart (heart chakra). Hold it here for a few seconds or however long feels right to you.
  8. Now bring your hands to your third eye, right above your eyebrows (crown chakra) and say thank you to the universe.
  9. Return your hands to your heart chakra, pause a few moments and then place your hands to your lap.
  10. Take one single breath and then open your eyes.

Your mala has now been activated!

You can choose to wear your activated mala necklace or bracelet just as it is or you can begin to use your mala during meditation. When you use your mala during meditation, your mala becomes infused with the energy of your mantra. Some people have multiple malas each with a different intention they want to manifest. However, I use just one mala during my meditation practice now. When meditating, if I am not actively using the beads for mantra meditation, I will wear it around my neck. After my meditation, I place my mala in a special bag and return it to a handmade box for safekeeping - it’s part of the special way I treat the beads that represent and carry the energy of my intentions.

Are you unsure what mala is the right one for you? Relax. Seriously. Often times, the right mala will choose you.

Perspective 2

(Full disclaimer: I don’t use a mala in meditation) 

I am consistent with my daily practice of mindfulness and meditation, but the way I do it varies depending on how I’m feeling or what I feel like I need to work on. The one consistent thing is that I do it, every day, whether it’s for a few minutes or for the whole morning. I sometimes use an app like Headspace, more often than not Wim Hof breathing precedes meditation, but it’s basically just me, sitting upright and breathing, being aware and listening to what comes up.

I chose my mala bracelet because I liked it. That’s it. There are certainly more effusive ways of putting that decision, but for me it was a simple “that’s it.” The important thing for me is that when I look at it, I remember that I’ve benefited from meditation, being mindful and present, and it’s a physical reminder to ask myself, “Where am I now? Where is my attention?”  

Sometimes what we wear is symbolic - a uniform, a badge, a wedding ring - but in this case the bracelet functions as both as a symbol of something I’ve chosen to do and a way of reminding myself of the intention to cut through the distractions that we all make so prevalent in our day.

Choose whatever speaks to you, resonates with you, whatever you like. Personally, I’d encourage people not to think about it too much - the properties of the stones and crystals, the design, the color - you can’t make a wrong decision by choosing what your gut tells you.