I just received the most beautiful mala in the post from the guys over at Japa Mala Beads. Here’s my review.
One of the most beautiful and precious items used in meditation is a mala.
A mala is a string of beads that are used to count mantras, breaths, or prostrations (gestures of reverence) — our guide to malas explains more.
As a meditation teacher with more than 15 years experience in meditating, I’ve seen my fair share of malas over the years. I’ve seen stunningly bad malas that fall to pieces at the slightest knock. And I’ve seen malas that are so amazing they take your breath away.
Today at THE DAILY MEDITATION, Japa Mala Beads (a mala maker in Asheville, North Carolina.) sent me a mala made of African Turquoise and Meranti. Did they make it onto my list of the best meditation malas…?
Why I immediately loved the Japa Mala Beads team
You know the feeling when you enter a friendly store that has a feeling of family? The kinda store that has soul and is basically the opposite of Walmart? That’s what Japa Mala Beads feels like.
The company’s name Japa means “Recitation of God’s name”. [see our spiritual dictionary for more words]
The company’s website (see the link below) has a lovely, family-run-kinda-feel. Just the type of store I love. And precisely the type of store I like to find my malas in.
Japa Mala Beads has been in business since 2005, when owner Timothy Burgin started making his own malas. And it has grown over the past 12 years like a blossoming flower. It’s now a boutique of malas with more than 100 different designs.
The company focuses on high-quality malas made of genuine stones. The mala beads are made of “semi-precious gemstones, hand-carve bone, rudraksha beads, sacred woods and hemp tassels”. And they are strung by an artist and yogi.
Sounds great. But are the actual products any good?
I got the African Turquoise and Meranti Full Mala
Japa Mala Beads generously sent me their African Turquoise and Meranti Full Mala.
African turquoise is a unique stone. It’s a form of jasper that is said to be the stone of evolution. The energy of African turquoise is believed to promote transformation in life, which it does by opening the mind.
African turquoise boosts the third eye, which increases insight and wisdom.
An additional benefit of African turquoise is that is sooths and creates calmness and healing.
Meranti is hardwood that comes from Southeast Asia.
This is a type of wood that is often used for construction, such as in door-frames. Spiritually speaking, Meranti promotes evolution and adaptation.
So, all in all, this mala is about promoting personal transformation though evolution, while stimulating insight and inner wisdom.
My initial impression
When the postman delivered this mala this morning it was wrapped in a neat little paper bag which I eagerly tore into like some overly-excited hound.
That was a mistake. Because the bag itself contains some pretty useful information. There are actually instructions on the bag telling you how to use the mala and introducing mantras.
The bag explains how to use the mala properly. It gives the correct hand positions and explains how to use the beads while meditating.
All of this is a nice little touch that is often lacking from a lot of other mala packages.
Then I saw the actual mala
Inside the bag was an absolutely stunning mala.
This thing is beautiful. Seriously. I cannot begin to tell you how pretty this mala is.
The colours (green and brown) are rich and earthy. The African turquoise has subtle shades that create a dense texture that I am already in love with. And, from what I can tell, it is not dyed at all (a lot of manufacturers dye African turquoise to make it look more colourful).
The meranti looks elegant and stylish.
And the tassel is nice and thick, and a bright red.
Aside from my first mala (which was a $400 masterpiece), this mala is one of the most beautiful I have ever had. You can truly tell that it has been created with love.
The effect this mala has had on me
When I wear this mala, I can genuinely feel the calming and soothing effect it is having on me.
Interestingly, within a few minutes of first putting it on I started holding my hands in Cosmic Mudra without even thinking about it. (Read: 60 Essential Mudras Enlightened People Use)
This is the difference high-quality malas make. With cheaper malas you can’t feel any change in energy. I discovered that a few months back when I unfortunately bought two mala that were very low quality. They had zero energy.
Genuine malas are packed full of energy. And I can most definitely feel the energy of this African Turquoise and Meranti mala.
I was not surprised to find a little message on the bag saying that the mala has been purified and blessed using ancient mantras and sandalwood incense.
As you can tell, I am quite fond of this mala.
So basically, I love it
I basically love this mala. It looks and feels wonderful.
I do feel that more could have been done with the packaging that it came in (mostly because the packaging is average where the mala itself is top-notch). That’s a minor point, though.
Overall, I am delighted with this mala and highly recommend it.
9 out of 10
Visit Japa Mala Beads.
Update: Just received Russian Serpentine And Olivewood Mala
Japa Mala Beads later sent me a Russian Serpentine And Olivewood Mala.
I guess they must have listened to my advice, because they have changed the packaging.
My Russian Serpentine And Olivewood Mala came packaged in a cute little pouch-style bag that made it feel even more special.
This one mala is all about creating self confidence. It’s made of Russian Serpentine, which is an excellent stone for mental strength and confidence.
The Japa Mala Beads official website recommends using the following Sanskrit mantras with this mala
Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namo Narayanaya
The first is a popular Shiva mantra used in Hinduism.
The second is a Sanskrit mantra that represents self-actualization.
This mala is equally as beautiful as the African Turqoise. If there is one slight issue that I had with this mala it is a little too big. I received the wrist mala but it is very loose on my wrist compared to other malas. However, the quality is still excellent and I could easily recommend it.
Japa Mala Beads are definitely one of my favorite mala makers at the moment.
- I only wish they had a blog (as a content producer, I always feel something is missing when a website doesn’t have a blog.
Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book: Your Best Meditation