Mala Beads for Meditation, Courage, and Self-Love


Recently I met Priscilla Mendez, Owner, and Designer of 100 Graces Jewelry. Priscilla started 100 Graces with the mission to create jewelry that not only makes women feel beautiful, but also has healing effects and carries a message of power and inspiration. Fellow mother, yogi, and entrepreneur, Priscilla gifted me the Blissfully Radiant Mala


When I think about mala beads, I think about yoga. More specifically, I think back to New York City in 2011; wherein, I was a student at Laughing Lotus Love Skool assigned a teacher training assignment, 'recite om mani padme hum 108 times every day for the next 30 days." I remember wondering how in the world I would remember how many times I had chanted om mani padme hum. Wasn't the mantra itself hard enough to remember?  While I began counting on my fingertips, I noticed one of my fellow teacher trainees using a beautiful necklace full of colorful beads. Twirling a strand of Bodhi seeds and gemstones, she looked like the yoga gypsy I wanted to be. After class, I beelined for the beautiful necklaces in the studio gift shop. A sign read 'Mala Necklaces'  and the price tags read $100 and up.  My parents had already dished out money for my yoga teacher training tuition as well as my books, supplies, and airfare to NYC so I didn't call and request money for a mala. Afterall, I told myself, they are just pretty necklaces with 109 beads.  Little did I know, mala's are so much more. 

Each mala contains 109 beads, where a mantra is repeated 108 times.  When practicing mantra, it is important to start with the bead next to the Guru (the biggest) bead at the beginning of the mala. Then move each bead with the thumb towards the body over the meridian point located on the side of each finger, between the tip of the finger and the first knuckle. Thus, the Guru bead descends and eventually ascends to be the last bead of your meditation. As you hold the Guru bead, repeat your mantra and make a prayer.  It is customary to express gratitude to your teachers and the most important people in your life.

Additionally, the various gemstones and beads carry different meanings. When shopping for a mala, purchase the one that you are automatically attracted too then learn the meanings of each of the stones. You can begin associating yourself with the unique energy of the beads around your neck.  When your day begins to wind out of control, grab a hold of your mala and anchor your energy into the power of the stones. 

The stones in my new mala serve as a reminder to let my creative juices flow, accept myself as I am, and remain courageous in my endeavors. I wear my mala to reinforce feelings of self-love and an open heart. Our little peanut Channing also loves to grab a hold of my mala, which is 1000x more adorable than a handful of my hair.  

Bodhi seeds: Bodhi seeds have a sacred meaning throughout Buddhism, as it was under the Bodhi tree that the Buddha first achieved enlightenment.

Rose Quartz: Opens the heart, encourages self-love, soothes and comforts, brings inner peace and harmony.

Poppy Jasper: Inspires a positive, joyful attitude and gives the motivation and energy to take creative action. It encourages a deep connection with life and of the earth while waking up and energizing the body.

Tiger Eye: A stone of courage, protection and good luck, Tiger Eye brings physical strength and mental clarity. It helps to ground and centers one’s energies, thus strengthening the connection between will and personal power.

Green Goldstone: Said to be the stone of ambition, goldstone builds energy, courage and a positive attitude. A gently uplifting stone, it promotes vitality and increases drive and confidence.

The Blissfully Radiant Mala was a gift; however, all thoughts and opinions in this blog post are my own. 




Carly Grace Milyo

Born in New York City,  Carly Grace grew up in Atlanta and graduated from The Westminster Schools.  Carly received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech in 2012. During her college career, Carly began practicing yoga as an escape from her intense ACC Cheerleading training. The rigor and requirements Carly upheld as an ACC athlete combined with the social expectations and action packed schedule expected of an Alpha Phi left Carly depleted both physically and mentally.  Before Carly found yoga, she used running, partying with friends, and restricting her diet to maintain a sense of control in her life. It was Carly's true desire to find more purposeful and authentic friendships and to invest her time in cultivating her greater well-being and spirituality that lead her to yoga. 

The creativity and physical challenge of yoga captivated and inspired Carly. Yoga was the first thing Carly practiced where the perfect-ten mentality was not required; in fact, perfection is the antithesis of yoga principles.  After hanging up her poms poms and retiring from her ACC Cheerleading career, Carly quickly found herself  invested in the In Balance Yoga Community in Blacksburg, VA.  With encouragement and affirmation from Studio Owner, Becky Crigger, Carly set out for New York City to train with Dana Trixie Flynn at Laughing Lotus Love Skool.

Yoga Alliance 200 E-RYT, Carly has studied and practiced with many influencers and teachers all over the United States.  Carly currently teaches Thunderbolt Power Yoga®;  a powerful alignment based vinyasa flow inspired by some of her greatest influencers including, Dana Trixie Flynn and Baron Baptiste.  Carly infuses creative ideas and sequencing into her classes. Her purpose as a teacher is to inspire people to move like themselves. Carly is committed to helping students be audaciously playful in both their practice and in their lives. 

You can catch Carly Grace teaching at her studio Thunderbolt Power Yoga, at off-site events such as the infamous FIT Yoga Series with Carly Grace at W Atl Buckhead, at music festivals, corporate conferences, and more!  Be sure to look out for Carly's quarterly Boombox Power Yoga® Class offered alongside a live DJ, accompanied by her pink boombox, and enhanced with a 16 inch disco ball. 

In the mean time, you can follow her adventures on instagram (@yoga__barbie) or give her a wave when you see her drive by in her infamous pink jeep!