i began wearing a mala after completing my RYT 200 as a tangible reminder to, “stay positive.”
my yoga journey began with a rough bout of suicidal depression, and diving into asana as a practice created an introspective space for me to work on my physical/mental well being. thus, a yogi was born, and finding a totem for my headspace was an important decision that could either stick with me for a lifetime, or be a fad and go just as easily as it came. when it comes to finding joy in life, i prefer the first option.
the sanskrit translation for mala is, “garland,” one of which yogi’s use in their meditation practice. mala’s are most commonly composed of 108 beads from either wood, stones, pearls, or even seeds. some necklaces will have an extra bead called the meru, much like a climbing shoe creating a central point of force with your little piggies, the meru is the focal point of energy as it is the closest to your heart. so, whatever intentions you decide to place in your meru will be the ones you are continuously reminded of.
this made my mala choices very personal. i could have made my own, but i wanted to support something greater than my own needs, as i am disgustingly prideful that i purchased nothing that does not support a cause. (to a fault, i’m working on it, fam.) i began my research at the most basic source, instagram. i was looking through many pages of beautiful pictures of insane postures and wonderfully made beads. some of which were merely plastic, just for the aesthetics, and solely profiting an individual. the ego in me was disgusted, but i get it, where there’s a market there’s a margin for monies. i continued scrolling through hashtags, page links, and websites, when the cookies from google kicked in: an ad appeared on my feed for a website that (at the time) had no instagram platform. so i read the mission statement;
driven by passion, we launched Mala Prayer in 2015 with the aim of creating hand made, high-quality Mala Bead Necklaces, Bracelets, and wellness items, while following our mission of empowering women around the world.
first instinctual thought, “i’m a woman somewhere in the world who wants to empower others! sign me up!” yes, i am aware that i am the reason why grocery stores have dollar sections and impulse buys right before the register. don’t worry, i was intrigued, but not sold yet. because how were they empowering women? the very next paragraph read my mind.
with every purchase made we help enrich the lives of women entrepreneurs by providing them with access to money to invest in their business, homes and community through microfinance loans. microfinance loans help enable upward mobility and eliminate poverty.
ok, this place had my attention, undivided. it wasn’t a donation, so how was this something i could justify as a charitable cause? well, the idea of micro-loans as opposed to donations is literally, in the great words of nate, “from the bible or something.” you can give a man a fish, and he is fed for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he is fed for a lifetime. i was totally onboard. i read through their directions of different methods to begin your mala meditation practice with, and was so excited for my order to come in so i could begin.
my first practice with beads was purely secular. i took videos and pictures, and i showed the world what a little hippy dippy yogi i was. burning my insesense, counting my beads, with my hair perfectly braided…i’m a little ashamed i wasted my first experience on the sheer thrill of media. but my first genuine practice, during a yoga class, where i had brought my mala to show the others how much more spiritually intune i was than them, i really resonated with the lesson. during shavasana i took a seat, and at each bead i took a breath and told myself i wasn’t just posing to be there, i belonged there, “sat nam.” (the truth in me)
i cried after class, embarrassed, but embraced by a loving community that held me as we all sang our final om. love being the movement, the sound of the universe, i knew i was officially one of those looney toon hippies and i would never go back. i was accepted, not by the community, they loved me all along, but by my own heart. something my very life had been begging me to do for years.
later, mala prayer began it’s own instagram page. after a few tags and comments, we were in contact and exchanging ideas about women’s communities and outreach. some time after, we began a collaboration so that i could share my love for this company with you. i hope that you find what it is in your heart that is so desperately trying to be heard, and i hope you place that happy thought in your meru, and i hope it continuously reminds you to;