Before I went to Atlanta for a workshop in February I made a mala. Mala beads are prayer beads strung in 27, 54 or 108, typically, and can be made of all kind of stuff. I wanted a black mala, but not a stone like onyx or obsidian, which are both beautiful. I decided to go with a black wood; ebony.
I made a rather swanky mala which I held close while maneuvering icy interstates, pelting rain and my own mind’s frightful imaginings. I rubbed the black tassel with my thumb like I was petting a rabbit’s foot.
In Atlanta on Saturday afternoon the sunlight pours into the sanctuary and one would never guess that the previous day’s sky had been so heavy and frightful. I’m wearing my ebony mala round my neck during the lunch break. A woman notices it and I might have mentioned I made it, being quite proud of myself for managing a tassel that didn’t unravel moments after its construction.
This lady mentions maybe I should make them and sell them at the yoga center where I teach. She takes me to the ashram lobby where she gives me malas not unlike the one still hanging from my head to examine. “You should sell these.” Which I take to mean I did a pretty good job on the one I did make.
Also, she says, “And you should have Swami bless that while you’re here.” With alacrity of a lunatic devotee I whip that mala off my head and lasso the the guy who would hand it off to the Teacher of my heart that afternoon. He agrees that Swami should bless this before I leave.
So now the mala is double secret special, me having made it and also it being blessed by that lady. So there is that. The mala in question is a full mala – 108 beads.
A hand mala is made of 27 beads. I like ’em because you can hang onto them like a seat harness on a roller coaster or like a shepherds’ hook, depending. You can also sling them around your bicep and do stuff; this method is great for sleeping.
Here we are now, rainy spring weather but not an ice storm in sight and the teacher trainees graduating from Uru. I wanted to do something special for the ones I mentored. They’re getting hand malas. Half the fun was shopping for beads that reminded me of them and stringing them in such a way that would also bring to mind their training and our relationship.
I spend about a week in the ecstasy of shopping and crafting. You know what I’m talking about. There’s something spectacular when the ability to spend money, be artistic and also give gifts coalesce into a low level obsession. The people at Michael’s craft store were good and sick of me, especially since I don’t have a smart phone and kept making them use their behind the counter and in the drawer paper coupons they have back there for low tech crafters like myself.
All that was so much fun and the product of my labors were so splendid that it was suggested on a few occasions that I should sell them. Being aflame with the excitement of recent artistic activity I ordered a whole bunch of gemstone beads online, which arrived yesterday. You can imagine how much fun me and the cats are having with strand after strand of 8 and 10 mm beads.
The second best part of crafting these things is matching the tassel color with the color theme and pattern. This might be as important as Bridal shoes matching the dress or the selection of handbags in relation to one’s ensemble; tassel color is everything!
So let me tell you what’s happening. I’m gonna make a few. I’m also going to put up a display shelf with the Electric Mala mission statement because why not. They’ll be hanging at Uru Yoga and Beyond May 1. I’ll tell you all about ’em then.
Additionally, last week someone asked to practice Scorpion pose. I thought it was a great idea until I remembered it’s been a while since I practiced it myself and realized I better get to snapping on that practice. What one can’t do, one is always more than able to teach, neh?
That’ll be all week folks, so if you miss that up-side-down back bendy dangly leg pose on Monday there’ll be more opportunities to try it. One thing to remember, if you’re practicing inversions take your mala off first, or it’ll most likely end up in your mouth or on the floor.