Most yogis or anyone who has read or watched Eat, Pray, Love will be familiar with malas: those long, beautiful necklaces made out of what appears to be round wooden beads with either a stone or tassel hanging near the navel. Aside from looking gorgeous on anyone from SoCal hippies to New York fashionistas, malas have a much more significant purpose and meaning for the wearer.
A mala, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them, is a strand of beads traditionally used to count the number of times a mantra is recited during meditation. Malas normally consist of 108 beads made out of ‘Bodhi seeds’, which come from the Rudraksha tree. In Hinduism, Rudraksha seeds are said to be the crystallized tears of Shiva, who cried tear of compassion for the welfare of mankind. (more…)