Making Your Personal Practice Personal with a Custom Mala Design May 10, 2019 15:34
I love it when customers contact me to create a custom design; it's one of my favorite things to do. I usually dive in right away, losing track of time as I sort through bead options and carefully arranging them on the tray that my husband made for me (a large, rectangular tray made from aluminum sheet metal that contains 108 center-punched divots for the beads to rest in comfortably).
I've mentioned on previous Facebook posts and in conversations with people that I create custom designs, so for this blog post, I'd like to explain the process in more detail, in case you'd like a custom mala design for yourself, or you might know someone who would appreciate their own personalized mala design.
After all, it's your mala, and you have agency in every step of the process.
Step 1: Reach Out
Send me a message on the Middle Moon Malas Facebook page or through the Contact Us page here on the online shop and let me know that you're interested in a custom design.
Step 2: The Consultation
We can either chat by phone, email, text, or FB Messenger to discuss your design. Some people know what specific gemstones they'd like in their design (Picture Jasper, Goldstone, Aquamarine); others may not know the names of the stones, but they have specific color preferences (blue, green, earth tones); others are more interested in the significance of the gemstones since they'd like a design that aligns with a specific, personal intention (connection to earth, grounding properties, creativity, abundance, healing energies, etc). We also discuss bead size. Some prefer 8mm beads; others, 6mm; and some like a combination of 8 and 6mm beads. Some like counter beads in their designs (extra beads that function as resting points in a japa practice). Others just want 108 beads, which is fine, too. This initial communication is so important. Once I understand what your preferences and intentions are, I can begin to do a little research and offer specific bead options. When you're happy with those bead options, I create a layout design and send you a photo.
Step 3: You Choose Your Guru (and Sutra/Tassel Color)
When you're happy with your mala layout design, I will share photos of potential guru options and sutra/tassel colors to choose from. The guru is the "teacher" bead (sometimes called meru, or "mountain" bead), and since this will be a knotted mala, the sutra color is important since it connects and brings together the design, and a tassel of the same color will spill from the base of the guru or meru bead that you choose.
Step 4: The Finished Design
As soon as you decide on your guru and sutra color, the fun begins, and I can start stringing your custom mala. Most malas require two or three days to knot, string, and tassel. When your design is complete, I will share a photo of your completed design with you before making arrangements for payment and delivery.
All Middle Moon Malas are unique designs. The malas available on the online shop are one-of-a-kind creations. However, with a custom design, you have a say in every aspect of the mala-creating process. It's your mala; it's your practice. Make your personal meditation, japa, or yoga practices even more personal with a custom Middle Moon Malas design.
(PS--if you like this particular design, it is available on the online shop--it's the Cuprite, Blue Goldstone, and Picture Jasper Mala)
Beauty...Beads...Breath: Practical Alternatives to a Chanting Practice October 5, 2017 19:43
I have a friend who loves malas, and she's purchased several Middle Moon Malas and requested various custom designs; however, she's not big on chanting. She recently asked me if chanting mantras was required. She was concerned that she was misusing her malas by not incorporating a japa or chanting practice. My response--absolutely not, and I offered her the following simple alternatives.
* Setting an Intention
Setting an intention or offering a dedication at the start of a yoga class can add even more meaning and significance to the practice. Similarly, setting an intention before donning a mala can be a powerful part of a yoga or meditation practice. It can serve as a meaningful reminder throughout the day, and it can help bring your meditation or mindfulness practice from the cushion or mat into your daily life.
Let's say you set an intention to be more present, more focused on the here and now. Each time you catch a glimpse of the beads around your neck or resting on the corner of your mat, each time you feel the beads against your skin or feel the weight of the mala as it shifts and moves across your body, as you shift and move throughout your day, these all serve as reminders of your intention. Be here. Be present. Be aware of this moment.
My intention with Middle Moon Malas has always been to create designs that are both functional and beautiful. Many of my customers tell me that they frequently receive compliments on their unique designs. Each compliment, each inquiry can also be reminders--be present--be here--be in this moment. No chanting necessary.
*Working with Breath
Another alternative to chanting is to incorporate a breath practice. Variety is important and valuable to just about anything in life. Just as practicing the same physical poses over and over can lead to repetitive stress and injury, mindlessly chanting the same mantra can lead to boredom and lack of focus.
There are no benefits to simply repeating or chanting a mantra--sharp focus and clarity of mind are essential to any meditation practice. Sometimes it's good to shake things up and add something different to the practice.
While I do have a daily recitation practice, sometimes I'll sit with my mala and let the breath be my focus. My right hand thumb and second finger on the first bead next to the guru, I take a long, slow inhalation. At the peak of the inhale, my fingers slide to the second bead, and I release a long, slow exhalation. One inhale, one exhale at a time, shifting to the next bead during the pauses between breaths. Again, no mantra, no chanting required. The breath becomes the focal point--the beads become tactile and visual reminders to remain present. Each sustains the other--to remain present--to breathe--and to be.
As with any practice, it's important to do what resonates with you. If chanting works for you, great! If not, great! You have options and choices. The important point is to cultivate a meaningful practice that is beneficial to you and that works for you.