If you’ve done yoga, you know that it’s totally possible to work up a sweat and call your flow a “workout.” But yoga is unique in that the practice is so much more than a fitness exercise. Rather, it’s an incredible journey and discovery of oneness with the world, nature, and self—which is why the United Nations has deemed today, June 21st “International Day of Yoga.”
In 2014, India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, recognized yoga as an invaluable gift of 5,000 years of ancient tradition, a practice that “embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; and a holistic approach to health and well-being.”
International Yoga Day coinciding with the Summer Solstice is also no coincidence. India intentionally chose June 21st to celebrate the ancient practice, as the Solstice is a day of great importance in yogic tradition. It is said that when Adiyogi (the first yogi) moved South on this day, he saw for the first time the Seven Sages—his disciples who would carry the practice of yoga to different corners of the earth.
Similar to the Sages, it is Mala + Mantra’s mission to spread mindfulness and wellness to as many people as possible throughout the world. In honor of this special day, here are 3 ways to use your mala beads while on the mat:
- Yoga often begins with seated meditation, in which an intention (like “I am strength”) is set for the practice. While seated, you can wear your mala beads around your neck or hold them in your hands. If you like, you can chant your mantra or intention 108 times, touching each bead as you do so.
- Before practicing the various asanas, you can set your mala at the top or in front of your mat to remind yourself of the intention you set when you opened your practice. If your intention was “I am strength,” for example, you can remember that your mala is there to give you guidance and strength, especially when practicing asanas that are more difficult to hold.
- If you want to continue to have a direct physical connection with your beads during your practice, you can wrap your mala necklaces around your wrists so they’re stacked like bracelets. This allows you to wear and feel them, while still being able to move and flow freely.
Once you’ve stepped off the mat, you can wear your mala beads for the rest of your day to help bring your intention into other areas of your life and feel the transformative powers of your yoga practice.