The practice of a yoga mala can be deeply cleansing and invigorating - especially during a seasonal shift. For me, this practice didn't exactly coincide with the vernal equinox, but it served me shortly thereafter when I felt that I needed a "reset". As a regular practitioner of sun salutations, I was able to release all intellectualizing and simply allow my breath to guide me.
Each forward bend served as a pranam (bow, surrender, respect) to the earth and each vibrant backbend as a salute to the emerging light. In this moving meditation, the body is the mala, the breath is the mantra.
My dear friend and yoga teacher has always told me that praying is when you ask the big questions whereas meditation is when you listen for the big answers. This practice was especially powerful for me because I was seeking answers that became clear after sweating my prayers.
More on Practicing a Yoga Mala
A yoga mala can be practiced in a number of different ways using any combination of surya namaksars (sun salutations) that totals 108. In the practice shown in the video below, I completed 12 cycles consisting of 7 surya namaskar A and 2 surya namaskar B. I used the sweet little sake set shown in the photo for counting. One cup has 7 clear beads representing 1 surya namaskar A each and 2 wood beads representing 1 surya namaskar B each. A second cup has 12 wood beads representing each complete round. For each round, I transferred the 7 clear beads and 2 wood beads back and forth between the two far right cups. When the transfer was complete, I moved a wood bead from the left most cup into the pitcher. Rise, lather, repeat. 108 times. You can use seeds, post-it notes, or even keep track using the chakras of the body. Or, simply let go of the numbers and practice until your heart feels complete.
For an outline of the asana sequence in Surya Namaskar A and B, please click below.