Mala Mala Beads, Y’all

A Couple of Malas Designed by Chelsea Welch, hand-beaded by yours truly, 2012

For days and weeks I would walk into the lovely Green Yogi yoga studio in North Manhattan Beach, CA. And for days and weeks I would admire the gorgeous handmade malas wondering if I should buy one. But each week, mala after mala would be sold to someone… and although so beautiful, none of the stones were speaking directly to me.

One day, a turquoise ring appeared and demanded my attention. The mala continued to beckon me each day I came into the studio, and each day I would try to ignore it. It’s funny, but ask anyone who owns one of Chelsea Welch’s exquisite malas, and you’ll know that is how you know it’s yours- when it won’t stop staring at you and is waiting for you to buy it.

And so I bought it… the turquoise ring-shaped stone… after a few weeks of it calling out to me. I think it’s like a pet, or a house or a husband… they kinda end up picking you.

When Chelsea needed assistance on putting some large quantities of malas together, I offered to help as I needed Karma hours for my yoga teacher training. By the time we actually organized the mala-making party, I didn’t need the hours anymore, and I just wanted to help the girl out. I am one of those weirdies that finds repetitive laborious and boring activites quite therapeutic and meditative with the right music/company, especially when I can get into a groove.

Setting up the Design

In the two-hour period I was there, I ended up completing four malas. That gives you an idea of the time and labor involved in crafting each one of these pieces of art.

So, what are Malas?

They are typically a necklace- that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet, and can be made from rudraksha seeds, rosewood, or sandalwood or other materials.

Chelsea Welch describes it pretty well on her web site,

Infinite Dreamer – Mala Collection

Traditionally mala beads are made from 108 rudraksha or sandalwood beads and semi-precious gemstones. The materials and stones Chelsea uses will determine the type of qualities your mala can bring into your life. Most of the stones and pendents used have been collected from her world travels, antique shops, or special gifts.

Besides being a personally unique piece of handmade jewelry that can help manifest your intentions, malas can be used for keeping count while chanting or mentally repeating a mantra during your meditation practice.

How to use your mala for meditation:
Hold your mala in your right hand and use your thumb to “count” each mantra by touching the bead during the recitation and then lightly pushing the bead away on completion and move to the next bead. Continue by pulling the beads until you have done 108 repetitions, or multiples of 108. The large center stone should not be counted as it is used as a starting and ending point of the meditation.

The mala is traditionally held in the right hand and used in two ways –

In one method, the mala is hanging between the thumb and the ring (third) finger. The middle (second) finger is used to rotate the mala by one bead towards oneself with each repetition of the mantra.

User to MalaUser to Mala

In the other method, the mala is hanging on the middle finger, with the thumb used to rotate the mala just as explained – one bead at a time.

Either way, the index finger is never used to touch the mala.

Be certain before wearing your mala for the first time, to go through all 108 beads and mentally state your intentions and desires within each bead.

Along with a stunning piece of jewelry, your mala also comes with a handwritten note explaining the specific energy it will bring to your life. These unique mala beads are sold throughout the year at “The Green Yogi”  in Manhattan Beach and at “Exhale” in Venice. You can also make a special order if you have specific intentions or healing properties you would like to manifest in your own life. You can also special order through Chelsea’s website, let her know I sent you!

The final product, 2012

3 thoughts on “Mala Mala Beads, Y’all

  1. Hi love! Great post – can you credit my photo though (the one of the mala wrapped around Megan’s fingers)? Or use a version that has a watermark on it? Let me know and I can send you a high-res version with a watermark. Thanks! -Chloe

    1. Oh yeah- just send a watermark version over! I simply cut and pasted the whole section (words and pics) from Chelsea’s web site, so you may want to check the watermark on hers too!

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