I became interested in malas a couple years ago after a health scare. I had been waking up with terrible headaches and finally went to urgent care. While there, I learned that my blood pressure was at such a dangerous level, that I was at high risk for a stroke or death. After a few days in the hospital, a million tests, and a month on a heart monitor, they came up empty handed as to why it was so high. My Cardiologist insisted that I make a serious effort at reducing my stress level, and recommended yoga and meditation.
I remember going home and thinking, "Am I that stressed out??" I have a 9 year old son with autism. It's stressful. I know that, but never considered myself to be so stressed that I would end up in the position that I was in. I immediately started yoga and I loved it. I practice daily and enjoy every minute of it. The meditation was a different story.
I tried over and over again to meditate. I didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't even follow the guided CDs, and all I had to do was listen. I'd peek an eye open and look around the room, think about other things that I had to do, and get distracted by any tiny noise I heard. Meditation was hard.
After weeks of trying, I went on the computer to try to help myself, and that's when I found malas. Besides being a beautiful piece of jewelry, malas are actually a tool. They have been used for thousands of years as a focus and counting tool in meditation. When I got mine, I still really didn't know what to do with it, so I decided to just breathe. I figured I at least knew how to do that. I would take a long deep breath, then move to the next bead and take another. What I learned about myself by doing that is how impatient I was. Breathing was taking too long. I would get through a few beads and get bored. That is when it hit me. I'm so rushed and on overdrive all the time...that I'm too busy to breathe. I didn't know how to sit down, I didn't know how to focus, and I didn't know how to relax. I was starting to see what my body already knew. I really needed to learn to slow down.
Meditation and yoga are called a "practice" for a reason. You need to keep at it, and remind yourself to step away from all of the distractions in your life, and focus on you for a few minutes. I had to learn how to do that. I really paid attention to my breath and how it felt going in and out of my body, and how my mala felt in my hand. Like anything, the more I practiced, the easier it became, and the better it felt. I started to work in good thoughts and intentions along with my breath, and wearing my mala became a physical reminder of those things throughout the day. It was comforting and made me feel better.
I started making malas soon after that, and find it to be a really peaceful process. They are all handmade by me, and I pay close attention to the details of each one. As a certified reiki practicioner, I infuse each mala with positive reiki energy, and hope that the person receiving it gets the same benefit from their mala that I get from mine.