Malas are the newest trend in wearable yoga, featuring sandalwood beads, gemstones, crystals and colourful tassels. Not only are they beautiful to wear, but they also serve as a reminder of your daily intensions. Traditionally, malas feature 108 beads plus a “guru” bead and are used for guiding repetition in meditation. Today however, you’ll find malas of all lengths and designs that represent something different to everyone.
As an expectant Mama, it’s important to find a quiet place inside your heart and mind to contemplate your incredible journey. A ‘Birth Mala’ is a vessel for your heartfelt intensions, as well as the blessings offered by your friends and family. Today we’re sharing how your tribe can help you make a mala as a special keepsake that will support you throughout your pregnancy, labour, and journey into motherhood.
Gather your tribe
A Baby shower is the perfect setting for this project, as you’ll have all your favourite ladies gathered in one place. If you want all the beads of your mala to match, then you’ll need to have them ready ahead of time. Otherwise, ask the person responsible for organizing the party to include this message in the guest invitations.
“As a special request, we ask that you bring a single bead and a blessing or wish for the Mama-to-be. Everyone will have a turn to share their words and string their bead onto a strand, which will become a keepsake for Mama during her labour. After all, this is when she'll need those blessing the most!”
Be sure to give your guests a couple of weeks notice so they have time to find a bead they’ll be happy with.
Select a 'Guru' bead
At the heart of your mala lies a very special bead. This is the bead around which all the other beads are supported, and the one that begins and ends your meditation. Maybe you trust your mother, best friend, or sister to select it, or perhaps you’d like to choose one for yourself. Some ideas include Baby’s birthstone or a healing gem, such as Rose Quartz for its gentle energy.
Prepare the activity
Create a designated space on a table or tray for the following items: A shallow dish to collect all the beads, note cards and pens, a 40” string (embroidery thread or dental floss work well), and a handful of extra beads in case a few ladies forget to bring theirs! Thread your “guru” bead onto the middle of the strand to get started. While your guests mingle and nosh, have the organizer pass out the notecards and pens, asking guests to write down their blessing, name, and any special meaning behind their bead of choice.
Circle of blessings
With everyone seated, invite your guests to share their wish or blessing. Hearing the supportive words of your loving community is incredibly memorable and strengthening! As they share, each woman can thread her bead onto the mala strand. And remember, your guests don’t need to be mothers in order to share; even children will surprise you with their best wishes for Mama and Baby!
Finish your mala
The final length of your mala will depend on the number of guests who participate in the activity. A short strand can be displayed on a dresser or in a shadow box. A longer strand can be worn as a necklace. You may want to remove the beads and rearrange them so that the heavier ones sit closer to the guru bead, while smaller ones sit closer to your neck. You can also add filler beads to achieve a custom length before tying a double knot where the strings meet at the back of your neck.
Use your mala when you’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of support. Your female community may not be by your side when you need them, but intensions know no limits or bounds. As you meditate on each unique bead, remember that your tribe is cheering you on through this life-changing time!