What is the Meaning of Yoga Bracelets?
So, you have joined a yoga class and are curious about the beads that people seem to be wearing on their wrists whilst doing the crescent pose or tripod headstand? Well, these would be called Mala beads, yoga bracelets or ‘good karma charms’.
Whatever you choose to call them, they are more than just a piece of jewelry – they are said to have healing and spiritual properties. Since the 10th century these beads have been used and typically, there will be 19, 21, 27 54 or 108 beads.
For many yogis, beads are worn to improve focus and understanding but for others, the meaning is far more significant. It’s best to learn about the spiritual meaning of yoga bracelets before turning up to class with a decorated wrist, so let’s get started.
We reviewed a chakra mala bracelet. Watch the video below to learn about the stones, crystals and how to spot a real one from a fake!
What is Mala?
Mala or as it is spelled in the Sanskrit language ‘Maala’ is the meaning for a garland of beads. Typically, it is used for mediation purposes, such as counting the mantra repetitions. When this process takes place, it is called ‘Japa’.
Breathing and Counting Mala Beads
One of the main spiritual meaning of yoga bracelets is the way in which it helps with breathing. By focusing on each individual bead with every inhale and exhale, the yogi can develop a stronger focus. Good concentration is essential for meditation to be performed and the Mala acts as an object that aids in achieving this as well as helping to align your chakras.
Mala Stones and Charms
Malas and mala bracelets are made from a wide variety of stones and gems which contain compounds and elements that possess certain properties. Makes sense right? For instance the element copper is a good conductor of electricity so we use it to wire electrical outlets. Based on the composition and your unique intention, these malas can be a physical reminder of the qualities or elements in ourselves which we would like to nurture. Often malas are embellished with charms, and wouldn’t you know it, these charms have meaning too.
Hamsa Hand: The word “hamsa” means five in Hebrew, and this famous symbol dates as far back as the Phoenicians. This world famous hand has been used for centuries by many faiths and regions to bring protection to the owner and to offer prosperity. The hamsa motif is popular in historical tapestries, wall hangings and jewelry and are said to bring blessings wherever they’re displayed. In Buddhism and Hindu philosophy the five fingers of the hand are connected to the five elements fire, air, ether, earth and water and mudras can be used to bring these elements into balance in the body.
Tree of Life: The tree of life is another time tested symbol that has been used by countless regions and religions for thousands of years. From the Celtics to Buddhists to Darwinism the tree of life is a symbol with deep meaning and numerous applications. With the branches reaching high and the roots growing deep below, meanings attached to this symbol are stability, strength, growth, interconnectedness, individuality and evolution.
Om: Om is known as the “unstruck sound,” it is the all encompassing cosmic vibration of the universe. Each limb of this symbol refers to different states of consciousness and the world of illusion that exists between pure consciousness and our experience of it. Om meditation can be used with your mala in what is called japa meditation, for this try chanting Om over each bead until you reach the guru bead, and then changing directions once you reach the guru or center bead heading back the opposite direction focusing your attention on Om or a mantra of your choice.
Third Eye: The third eye is located between the brows and corresponds to the Ajna Chakra and provides vision and clarity to things unseen such as intuition, perception and understanding. This all seeing charm and attention here during meditation can help to focus your attention and may help you get in touch with your own psychic abilities.
Buddha Head: Buddha heads can differ in style based on their origin, but its symbolic meaning is one of enlightenment. The eyes are often half closed, representing that the gaze is turning inward toward the true self in a meditative state. The buddha charm can be a reminder to focus on the world within and not get too caught up in the external experience.
The String on Yoga Bracelets
It’s not just beads that have significance but also, the string. The string represents an individual’s ‘Universal Self’. By supporting the beads and holding them in place the string plays an important role, considering it’s the force that keeps the bracelet as one.
Alternative Uses for Mala Beads
While some people may simply clench tightly to their Mala beads, others will wear them as bracelets or necklaces. By doing so, the spiritual meaning of yoga bracelets can be used as you pass through life, allowing you to keep your beliefs and practices as close as possible at all times.
How to Use Yoga Bracelets Properly
The thumb and index finger (a symbolization of ego) should be perpendicular to one another, with the thumb pointing up and the index finger pointing away from you. Group the remaining three fingers together and position them perpendicular to the index finger, before placing yoga bracelet beads (or Mala) on the middle finger. This is when the mantra chanting begins and once the Guru bead is reached, chanting should stop.
Choosing the Right Mala
You will notice that not everybody’s Mala is the same color and this is because the spiritual meaning of yoga bracelets is chosen according to the yogi’s needs. This is not the easiest process, but it should represent your intentions, affirmations and favorite things. For example, if someone wants to feel purified and protected, amethyst is a good color for this.