A few years ago it was very hard to find a mala, you know, the necklace all the yogi’s are wearing with 108 beads? Well, I wanted one too. I loved the idea of making one myself and that’s what I did. While I was singing mantras it took me like 4 hours to make the mala. I wouldn’t do it ever again and that’s why I’m now showing you some malas that you can just buy and wear, or use instantly yourself. And men, this article is mostly dedicated to you, it’s not so easy to find a mala that is suitable for you, which is why I found you some cool looking, manly, malas. (Although the links provided here also have some malas for women ;))
What is a mala?
To probably tackle your first question, what is a mala? Well, it’s simple, it’s a necklace that contains 108 beads and it’s used during the practice of meditation/chanting/reciting/… in the Buddhism, Hindhu and Yogic traditions.
The number 108 is sacred, and if you go looking on the internet, you’ll find numerous explanations. Just a couple of examples to save you from doing some investigating yourself:
– The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth:
I don’t think in ancient times they already had the tools to figure this out, but I still think it’s a cool fact though. Even if they didn’t have the right measurement tools, it’s still kind of proving that 108 is a magical number. Besides that, it’s also a fact that the sun is actually on average 108 times his own diameter away from our earth. Cool fact isn’t it?
– Defilements in Buddhism
According to Buddhism, humans have 108 defilements, or sins and worries. These defilements block our path to Nirvana. Or translated into standard Western language: There are 108 sins and worries like lying, unkindness, hatred, grudge, etc. that keep us from our true path, which is the path to enlightenment.
Shortly said, if you can master your thoughts and not to judge others, be angry, or any other of those 108, that’s when you will “reach” true happiness. For the beginners here under us, don’t worry too much. And read this book of Lord Rinzler, he explains Buddhism way better than I am.
– 108 in Numerology
This is my favorite and preferable explanation of I can be honest. In numerology, every number has some kind of meaning. With the number 108 it’s the following:
1: This number stands for unity, the whole. It’s deriving from the “we are one”.
If you thought they were using this sentence just recently, then you are wrong. In a lot of religions, they say that we all originated from the same kind of energy, whether it’s Adam and Eve or the source of all life, they are all talking about the same thing. It’s a bit hard to grasp, but we are all born out of the same principle and that’s why they say that we are one.
0: Stands for nothing. And no, I don’t mean that it has no meaning, I just mean that it stands for the void, the emptiness, the nothing.
Within Buddhism, it is said that when we meditate, we go back to this void. It is in this void where we will find… Nothing. Okay, it looks like I’m messing around a bit now, but it does make sense. If you accomplish that are having more negative thoughts, that you get sick less, … it’s all because you could let go of those things. So in the end, you have nothing anymore.
8: And then the number 8. Which stands for infinity. Because in Buddhism and Hinduism they both believe that nothing is ending, at the end of our life, it is merely the body that we will leave behind. I’m talking about Reincarnation now. And whether you believe it or not, I can give a bit of an explanation as well. Nothing is really ending but just transforming:
It’s like the butterfly that pops out of its cocoon. It stopped being a caterpillar, but it ended up being a butterfly. And when that forms end, it will be the food of another animal, who then will be composted at the end of its life of which beautiful flowers or crops will come. And I can continue this cycle into eternity, but I hope you have got the point by now ;).
That’s it for the meanings of the number 108 that I wanted to put on here, if you are interested in some more opinions, or you wanna dive deeper into this matter, there are maaaaany articles you could find where they will explain you some more. These are just a few of my favorites.
How to use a mala?
The usage of a mala is very simple. You have 108 beads, you can choose between a couple of options, like focusing on your breathing, singing a mantra, or choosing a prayer. After you have made your decision, or when you have put your intention (what or why are you contemplating for?), you start focusing and start using the mala. For this, you can see that one breath or verse is one bead you go through.
Here’s a small video on how to use a mala:
Does 108 times sound a bit too much for you? Don’t worry, there are also malas that put a couple of extra beads in between where you can stop. This is mostly distinguished by a bead that has a different shape or is a bit less polished. Mostly they are put after every 27th mala. Because 4×27= 108 ;).
After 108 times you will hit the guru bead, this is the biggest bead on the mala and represents the end of the cycle. After this, you can decide yourself if you’d like to do another round or if you’d like to finish your meditation.
Yoga Malas for Men
Meru Beads has a lot of options to choose from. They are all the same, but the beads are all different. They use within their line of malas gemstones, who have their specific healing powers. This is why choosing mala beads is important as well. There are some options there that I wouldn’t pick myself to be honest, as I don’t really feel well dressing in something that is too feminine, however, they have some very cool options for men as well:
– Bronzite Brown
– Black Veined Jasper
– Garnet Red
– Lava Rock Red Tassle (mine I did with lava rock and it feels really amazing)
– Obsidian Black
Besides the mala, you’ll also get a bag to put and protect your mala in, accompanied by instructions on how to use it, and a mantra fitting for your mala.
BaliBali also has some malas for men to offer. They also have the lava rock available. They look a bit less refined than the ones from Meru Beads, but then again, the price is a lot cheaper as well.
If you have doubts if you would like to buy or use a mala, I’d definitely go for this option to see if it’s something for you anyway.
The mala comes with a gift box, a bag to store your mala in and a cloth to clean your beads. The latter I’ve never seen before and I don’t use it myself, but it can come in quite handy if you decide to use your mala a lot.
Yoga Jewelry for Men
If you don’t like to wear a mala around your neck, this might be a good solution for you. Self-Discovery has got a line of bracelets. The bracelets have 108 beads as well. The principle is the same, it’s just that you wear it on your wrist instead of around your neck. The difference here as well is that they use a small locket instead of a tassel.
Some options for the men among us:
– Lava rock
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to do the whole 108 beads. Hamoery has some bracelets that can be put on your wrist in a very subtle way for you to use. This makes it easier for you to do a quick round even if you are in public.
The options that they have here are all suitable for men.
That’s it about malas. Down here is my favorite mantra that you might be able to use yourself. It’s a long one and a very powerful one, so don’t do the whole round if you don’t feel like it. I’ve only done it once and it took me over an hour to finish it ;). After that, I was completely in trance for the rest of the day. It was a good feeling and I had the time, but not everyone has the time these days to do an hour of mantra singing. So, just doing the Om-mantra could already be enough for you!
If you have any more questions or you’d like to share your experience or favorite mantra with us, feel free to share in the comment section below!
And for now,