I found an awesome workshop through Facebook events a couple weeks ago and was quick to sign up. Chopra Yoga Toronto was offering an intro to mala making workshop and I definitely snatched up a spot as fast as I could.
I arrived on the blustery Sunday afternoon all bundled up. Got myself a hot cup of tea from the studio and settled into a circle of ladies eager to make malas.
The workshop was led by the owner of Purple Lotus, Kimberley. She talked about the origin of the mala, what it’s used for and different styles of malas. A mala is originally a necklace of prayer beads for the Hindu or Budda faith. In Tibetan Buddhism, the mala is originally 108 beads which is what we made on Sunday. I chose this style which includes one guru bead and 3 markers spaced 27 beads apart. We were given two bowls and there were three stations of guru beads and marker beads in the centre of the circle we could peruse.
After we choose our beads, we consulted pictures on the styles of malas which is where I chose the Tibetan style.
Then it was a chill time and time to string the malas, reflect on the mantra we wanted our necklace to represent and just have fun. Some of the ladies came with friends so they happily chatted away. I was content to just sit peacefully and think as I went.
Near the end of making my mala I had chosen two different guru beads. The guru bead is the main gemstone. When reciting your mantras you’re supposed to stop at the guru bead and give thanks for the teachers and influencers in your life and then go back the other way so you don’t overstep their teachings and show them respect. So I had chosen two similar stones for my guru bead and was deciding which one I wanted. I tried to string one on and it wouldn’t go, I tried the other and it wouldn’t go so I looked through the centre stations to find another similar one. I saw a neat turquoise stone I hadn’t seen before and picked it up. I decided to ask Kimberley the owner of Purple Lotus for the meaning behind the stones. When she told me that I had originally chosen two Labradorite stones I looked at the meaning and had an aha moment. The mantra I had chosen while I was looking out the window stringing my mala was “Strength of Character, Calm of Spirit”. In my professional & personal life I have strong morals & convinctions and want to ensure I’m always honouring those, sometimes I can get too worked up about things that will cause stress & anxiety so I want to work on a calm spirit. When I saw that the Labradorite means a stone of transformation and provides strength & perseverance while relieving stress & anxiety I went nope I need that stone on my mala. So I picked the first stone I had originally picked up and asked Kimberley to string it on. With a little bit of help it went on. 🙂 Here’s a link to more information on the Labradorite stone.
I also chose two Howlite stones and an eternal knot as my other three markers. Howlite is called the “attunement” or calming stone. They are also supposed to help eliminate rage, pain or stress. They can encourage calm communication (who doesn’t need more of that in their life). Here is a link for more information. The eternal knot is described on wikipedia as the intertwining of wisdom & compassion. Again so well meant for what I need in my life right now. It’s weird how some things just work out for what you need at that moment in time.
As a devout Christian, although I cherish my yoga practice and spirituality I am definitely thankful and open to other religions and practices as they fascinate me. You should never be to closed off to learn from others. I don’t know how I’ll use my mala in my life. It may just be a necklace I wear to remind myself of the mantra I chose for it. I may use the practice of reciting the mantra and working through the beads. I may just choose to hold it while I pray or place it on my yoga mat when I practice. Never the less it was a really cool experience