We catch up with the owner of Chant Malas to find out more about the ancient meditation practice behind mala beads…

If you’re into yoga or meditation, you’ve probably heard of mala beads – a string of beads used in meditation practice and a tool used to help you count mantras. If you aren’t, it’s likely you have not heard of them and are wondering just what we are talking about.
Mala beads have risen in fashion over the past few years – along with the rise of popularity in wellbeing practises such as yoga – and they offer a lot more than meets the eye. But what is all the fuss? And when it comes to “real” malas what do they do? We caught up with Mala bead maker and designer of Chant Malas‘ Helen to find out more…
 Chant malas mala beads

When did your business begin and what inspired you to create mala beads?

I started creating mala beads when I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago.  I started making bracelets and wire-wrapping crystals but this quickly moved on to trying my hand at mala beads as I’d been using them for a while as part of my meditation practice and as part of my birthing preparation.

Could you tell us a bit about mala beads?

A mala is a sacred tool that hails from India,  Created by the ancient seers of India in around the 8th century BCE, mala beads were used to aid meditation practice, to help the meditator settle their mind in readiness for transcendence through the repetition of a scared mantra given to them by their guru.  More than this though, the mantra that the reciter repeats is a way of accessing a particular deity, or sacred part of yourself, to aid a certain situation or area in your life that is in need of specific support.  Traditionally, malas (meaning ‘garland’ in Sanskrit) contain 108 beads, and are used to help keep track of the recitation of your mantra.

Chant malas mala beads

What is the most rewarding thing about your business?
 There are so many things!  I get to work with my hands and my creativity every day.  I love connecting with new people and finding out about their lives and yoga practices.  The positive feedback I receive is always wonderful too!

Do you have a favourite stone /crystal and why?

I find it varies depending on what I might be working on, the phase of the moon and my own cycles.  Generally though, I love the colour and energy of Amazonite.  It’s a stone that heightens creativity, encourages balance of feminine and masculine energies and open up the lines of heart-centred communication – very important in my line of work!
Chant malas mala beads

Do you have a favorite piece that you sell from Chant malas & have you found it hard to let go of any pieces that you make?

That’s a really good question!  I put a lot of time and energy into not just designing my pieces but researching the areas of intention that I’ve cited for the individual piece, for example, in my goddess pieces.  Medusa was one that I loved to create as I love her history and background and really enjoyed the process of sourcing materials that would do her story and energy justice.

What does the future hold for Chant Malas/ where would you want your business to be in a few years time?

 I am really honored to be in a position where I am now working with a number of studios in London (Triyoga, for example) and across the UK, wholesaling my pieces and I am hoping that this will continue to grow.  I am currently building a relationship with a women’s mental health charity in India.  They currently make the cotton bags that go out with my website orders and we are working on designs for both meditation cushions and prayer shawls.  All of these will be not-for-profit as my aim is to help the women (who create the bags and products all the way from seed to finished product) to earn more money that will help them to move towards supporting themselves in the future, with the charity to help support them when they need it.  I am collaborating more with yoga teachers around the country, not just running my own workshops but creating amazing events with them too – this is something I’m really excited about developing further! Eventually I would like to take on staff, but that’s a long way off yet!
 Chant malas mala beads
What’s your favourite thing to do when you visit London?
 It might sound strange but one of my favourite things to do used to be to walk around the city at night (Oxford Street, for example, or anywhere that was busy in the daytime and quieter at night).  There was something so wonderful about seeing what it turned into after everyone had gone home and it always spoke to the writer in me.  I also loved going one of my favourite yoga studios (I had a few!) and taking a class before popping somewhere local for a juice!
Find out more about Helen from Chant Malas on her website here

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