Since February is American Heart Month and the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d put my yogi crown on and share how to open your heart to love with malas & mantras. If you’re not a yogi, you may not know about malas & mantras.
No worries. I found the perfect person to tell you all about these spiritual tools. His name is Timothy Burgin, certified yoga instructor and founder of Japa Mala Beads. Timothy was so kind to allow me to interview him about this topic. He is also founder and executive director of Yoga Basics, a comprehensive online resource for yoga. (BTW, I found his website to be filled with great information for both newbies and experienced yogis.)
Ooh, ooh, ooh, in addition to providing answers to all my questions, Timothy is offering a Japa Mala Beads giveaway to my readers for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to enter the Valentine giveaway below.
Let’s hear from Timothy:
Before we get into using malas & mantras, I think it’s important that we first introduce chakras. What are chakras?
Timothy: “Chakras are energy centers in the body described by yogis as “whirling disks of light.”.Traditionally there are seven chakras located along the spine, starting at the base and running upwards to the crown of the head. Each chakra radiates a specific color and spiritual quality. Each one is associated with corresponding psychological, physical, and emotional states.”
Let’s focus on the heart chakra since it’s the month of Valentine’s Day. Tell me more about the heart chakra.
Timothy: “The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest. It is known in Sanskrit as the Anahata Chakra, which translates to “unstruck or unbroken.” This energy center deals with love, compassion, kindness and joy. Challenges or blockages within the heart chakra will express themselves in the form of lack of compassion towards oneself or others, or the inability to experience unconditional love. When the heart chakra is over-active a person is overly ruled by emotions such as sadness, hurt, grief, jealousy, possessiveness or judgement. If the heart chakra is under-active, a person may be feeling shy, withdrawn, unloved or unappreciated, and generally find it hard to let people in.”
You founded Japa Mala Beads. What are mala beads?
Timothy: “Mala beads are a string of wood or gemstone beads used in japa meditation to count mantras, prayers, or intentions. Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland. Similar to a catholic rosary, malas are a type of meditation beads or prayer beads used in the yogic and Buddhist traditions. A full mala contains 108 counting beads plus one guru or meru bead. The guru (teacher) or meru (mountain) bead is often larger than the other counting mantra beads. This larger bead provides a starting and ending point for counting the repetitions of the mantra. A tassel is connected to the end of the guru/meru bead to finish the mala with a final knot.”
Which mala beads are good to use to open the heart chakra?
Timothy: “Generally, you want to choose mala beads with green or pink gemstones.
The most powerful gemstone malas for the Anahata chakra are:
♥ Rose quartz
♥ Green or white Jade
♥ Green Garnet
♥ Green tourmaline
♥ Green aventurine
Tell me about the healing properties of gemstones.
Timothy: “Gemstones are considered to possess specific vibrational and energetic qualities. They have been used for thousands of years for their healing and spiritual properties. Their healing properties are related to the minerals that they are composed of. While different cultures and traditions have used gemstones for healing, their healing properties are universal.”
What are mantras?
Timothy: “In the yogic and Buddhist traditions, a mantra is similar to a prayer but it is composed of a set of specific sounds. Mantras are unique spiritual formulas of sacred Sanskrit words, which were originally revealed to the ancient Rishis (seers or sages) in the deepest states of meditation The word mantra can be broken down into two parts “man” meaning “mind” or “to think” and “tra” meaning “instrument” or “vehicle.” Thus a mantra can be defined as a “vehicle of the mind,” “thought instrument” or “that which when reflected upon brings liberation.”
It is important to note that a mantra is not an affirmation such as “I am love” or “Today I choose joy.” You can chant affirmations like these similarly to how you would practice japa meditation, but mantras are considered to be more powerful and effective than affirmations.”
Are there any “heart-opening” mantras you recommend?
Timothy: “There are a few mantras that have a powerful effect on the heart center and cultivate love and compassion. (Note: If you want to learn the pronunciation of a specific mantra I usually search for them on YouTube.)
♥ The simplest mantra to open the heart chakra is Anahata’s Bija or seed power mantra Yam.
♥ Another easy mantra is Aham Prema which means I am pure universal love.
♥ A very popular heart-opening Buddhist mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum which is a direct translation doesn’t make much sense in English. I translate the meaning of this mantra as “O radiant jewel in the lotus of my heart, please shine brightly. May my heart have the strength to feel compassion for all sentient beings.”
♥ If you are wanting to cultivate more intimacy and passionate love in your relationship you can use the mantra for invoking the divine lovers, Radha and Krishna, Om Radha Krishnaya Namaha.”
What’s special about Japa Mala beads? Where can people purchase them?
Timothy: “Japa Mala Beads is one of the oldest companies in the US making and importing malas. Our tagline is “designed by an artist, strung by a yogi,” as our malas have unique and beautiful pairings of gemstones and all of our employees are yogis who work in a calm and mindful environment. Our malas are made with the highest quality materials which allows us to offer the longest breakage guarantees in the business at 108 days.
We have our mala beads available in yoga studios and retreat centers all over the US and you can also purchase from our online shop that has a complete selection of malas, bags and boxes.”
Enter the giveaway to win a Japa Mala
To enter the giveaway for Japa Mala Beads — including a Rose Quartz and Mother of Pearl Full Mala and a Frosted Rose Quartz and Rhodonite Wrist Mala (valued at $89) (pictured above) — share a comment about how you plan to emanate love, compassion, kindness and joy in your life this year OR complete the Rafflecopter entry below. (Open to US readers only.)
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Much love to all my readers ♥ Namaste ♥
Awesome question! I do and will continue to meditate and send positive, love vibes at least 3 miles out and so on. I imagine them hitting everyone around me and cause them to do the same…and so on…and so on! 😀
Chelle, sounds like your on your way to opening everyone’s heart to love.
I plan to continue to improve on having an understanding approach with other humans; reminding myself consistently that each life is unique and to have compassion for others free of quick judgment.
Christina, I like your attitude about having compassion for others and not judging others.
I will send out loving, healing energy to all surrounding me whenever or wherever I can! I am a yoga teacher as well as a Reiki healer, and usually at the end of my classes I set a vibe for my students to send out love, kindness & compassion to ourselves and also out into the universe! The world definitely needs all the positivity it can get.
Rachel, sounds like a wonderful way to end a yoga class. Namaaste.
To help others with kindness and not judge by how they look
Jeanne, good deeds to live by.