Mala is a Sanskrit word for prayer beads. It is a tool used for counting and focus during meditation. The use of beads in prayer and meditation dates back thousands of years.
A Mala is a closed string of 27, 54 or 108 beads and one larger bead (“Guru bead”). The 1,000 petal lotus flower, a symbol of enlightenment, is often represented by tassels on the Guru bead.
Holding the Mala beads and moving the beads one by one stimulates certain acupressure points in each the fingers, which work on different parts of the psyche and brain. Depending on which finger is used to pass the beads through the hand, the resulting effects can be stress reduction, enhancing wisdom, patience, or good health. The meridian points are located on the side of each finger, between the tip of the finger and the upper knuckle.
The properties of the meridian points of each finger:
Index finger: Wisdom, knowledge and prosperity
Middle finger: Patience and trust
Ring finger: Heath and energy, strengthens the nervous system
Little finger: Communication and intelligence
How to use a Mala:
Always start with the bead next to the Guru bead. Pass each bead over the first segment (between tip and first knuckle) of the chosen finger. Using the thumb, pass each bead towards the body allowing the Guru bead to descend and then come back round to be the last bead.
To begin again, turn the Mala around without using the other hand and continue to move the beads towards you. If using a mantra or prayer, move one bead for each full repetition of the mantra (not one bead per word) out loud or silently.