Meditation is a buzzword right now, and understandably so because it is a great practice for a variety of reasons. I’m not going to go into depth about the benefits of meditation because, as evident in the title of this post, I’ve only been meditating for more or less, 30 days. Instead of me discussing meditation at length, I’ll just link y’all with some great posts to check out if you want to learn more about it at the end of this post.
I was inspired to meditate because I’ve been deepening my yoga practice and I am going to train to become a teacher in about three months, and meditation is critical to the yoga practice, especially if I anticipate teaching at some point. So I decided to attempt a 40-day mantra meditation challenge, hosted by the Journey Junkie.
You are supposed to do 40 consecutive days of meditation to ensure you build a habit of meditation, and for mantra meditation, you have to say the mantra 108 times. People hypothesize that 108 is significant because 1= God or a Higher Power, 0= Emptiness or Completeness, 8= Infinity. 108 is significant for other reasons, but you can read more about that on the Journey Junkie’s post that I linked above.
In order to ensure that you are repeating your mantra 108 times, it is helpful to have a mala necklace. Mala necklaces have 108 beads, plus the guru bead (which you don’t use for the meditation) and tassel (not all malas have tassels though). When you use the mala to do a mantra meditation, it is called japa mala meditation, because japa means repetition.
Fun fact: I actually learned that malas were adopted in Catholicism, but they are called rosaries. Mala means garland in Sanskrit. When the Roman Empire was trading with India, the Romans mistook “japa” for the Latin word “jap,” which means “rose.” So in Rome, they malas were called rosarium, or rosary in English.
My mala necklace, which I bought on Boho Beach Jewelry’s Etsy shop, is the one pictured above! It is a solar plexus chakra influenced mala necklace. Just a bit on what that means: chakras are energy centers in the body. The solar plexus chakra is above the navel and it is associated with confidence and power, which is something that I felt I needed to improve on. Thus, I got this solar plexus chakra mala.
I haven’t been meditating daily, as I had intended, but I’ve been doing it about every other day for about a month. I enjoy mantra meditation with a mala necklace because I feel like I am able to focus more on my breath when meditating, unlike if I was just sitting in silence. I also like using the beads to keep track of how many times I say the mantra because it prevents me from glancing at the clock or from using a timer to ensure I am practicing for a certain amount of time.
Regarding the mantras…you can come up with your own, or you can find one that you like in Sanskrit. Regardless, you should only use one mantra for 40 days.
Anyway, I hope this was a little informative! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help 🙂
Some other helpful links:
Here is great video to learn how to do mala meditation.
This is another site for great information on mala meditation and mantras.