faq

yoga and meditation cushions (zafu, zabutons)
yoga, meditation and pilates mats
rudraksha beads
japamalas
om
yoga straps
su jok ring

yoga and meditation cushions
for pictures on how to use , please visit our blog.

what are meditation and yoga cushions and why can’t i just use an ordinary cushion for this purpose?
meditation cushions are specialty items, not the kind of thing you can pick up at your local discount department store. this means that many of the skilled artisans who make them do a lot of custom work. choosing the right meditation cushions can mean the difference between a painful, frustrating session of squirming and shifting to find a comfortable sitting position, and being able to sit without pain, serenely relaxed so that you can derive the maximum benefit from your practice.

how can meditation and yoga cushions (zafus) help me in making my practice enjoyable, healthy and full filling?
your search for spiritual enlightenment will fail if your back is aligned incorrectly or you suffer an injury to your back or have terrible discomfort, as these problems will distract you during meditation.  the “meditation or the lotus pose” is easily recognized, so much so that it has become an icon. every day in print media about any subject, advertisers find ways to depict people sitting in a somewhat cross-legged position with hands making a fancy “mudra” (forefinger connected to thumb in a perfect o). the truth is, this position is neither healthy, nor sustainable. it takes so much effort to hold this pose that it won’t last a second longer than it takes to click the shutter. this false, popularized symbol for what meditation is supposed to look like is conceived by those who have neither practiced meditation nor plan to. the reason: these people are sitting on a flat surface. when sitting on a flat surface, it’s almost worse than sitting on a chair or sofa. the muscular of the front torso has to strain to keep the body from collapsing backward.

if more people realized that there is a way to sit without back support that is not only effortless, but increases the power of concentration, lowers heart rate, decreases blood pressure, deepens breathing, and stimulates the ‘relaxation response’, they would probably give it a try. your energy must be allowed free circulation throughout your body during meditation. a proper cushion yoga and meditation cushion will allow these spiritual and physical dynamics to occur.

meditation cushions provide needed support so your body can achieve the best and most healthy spinal alignment and posture possible. this cushion configures the spine according to the sitting posture of lotus, half-lotus or a kneeling posture. the practitioner learns to tuck in her lower back and to keep the spine in a straight line.

curving out the upper back and gently tucking in the neck, with the head held as if balancing a book on top of the head, allows for the best posture. spinal stress is minimized and one’s sitting sessions are more effective, reducing potential physical harm. after all meditation is not supposed to be an endurance test and comfort is the key to a successful practice

what are the various types of yoga and meditation cushions available?
most of the widely used meditation cushions can be divided into zafus, zabuntons and zen cushions. zafu can be translated as a ‘cushion for sitting’ or ‘sitting cushion’, where za means ‘sitting’ or ‘sit’ and fu means ‘cushion’. the zafu enhances meditation by helping you get in touch with your breath and the wonders of being present in the moment right now. the words zabuton, zafuton and futon are closely linked. the word ‘zazen’ meaning ‘seated meditation’ or ‘sitting meditation’ is also closely linked. in western terms, colloquially speaking, ‘zafu’ refers to a meditation cushion, and ‘zabuton’ refers to the cushioned mat on which a zafu is placed. a xen cushion is typically rectangular floor cushion but comes with tie ups to attach to chairs also. these are normally filled with cotton and come in a tufted pattern to avoid the cotton to shift.

it’s nice to have a few around the house for company and can help you transform even a small place into your retreat for meditation. with meditation cushions, an incense burner nearby and subtle music, you know when you enter that space that it’s meditative space. it just feels different than ordinary space and helps you relax

alright, now that i understand meditation and yoga cushions, what are the different types available for me to choose from?
all meditation and yoga cushions can broadly be divided into zafus, zabutons and zen cushions. the purpose of all these cushions is the same- to make you comfortable enough during your practice so you can get maximum benefit out of it. it really depends on your individual preference and body type which determines which type of cushion you go for. traditionally zafus are either round or semi-circular and zabutons are typically long and flat and vary in length. zen cushions normally come in rectangular shape and can be used as chair cushions as well. many indian musicians who play instruments like sitar, tabla and the like which requires them to be on the ground for extended hours, use zen cushions for support and comfort.

what are meditation and yoga cushions and why can’t i just use an ordinary cushion for this purpose?

the basic cushion, and the one you’ll probably find you can’t do without, is the zafu. a traditional zafu is a plump, round, pleated cushion, usually stuffed firmly with cotton, buckwheat hulls or kapok. this cushion, positioned under your tush, serves to support your spine in an upright sitting position, providing enough height so that you can sit in full or half-lotus or simply with your legs crossed, and ideally with your knees resting on the floor. the slight tilt that results correctly aligns your spine in an erect posture and provides the most stable position for extended periods of sitting.

zafus come in several sizes, and there isn’t much standardization; a regular-sized zafu can be anywhere from 13 to 16 inches in diameter, and between 5 and 8 inches high. larger zafus, 15-17 inches by 7-9 inches, usually work better for taller folks who have long legs and need more height to sit cross-legged in comfort. in general, if you are 5’10” or taller, you will want to purchase a larger zafu, while if you are under 5’10”, the smaller or regular-sized cushion will work for you.

note that weight and/or girth aren’t usually significant; short or average-height plump people generally sit very comfortably on regular-sized zafus. the size of the cushion you need for maximum comfort has much more to do with your height than your weight/

so take your pick from our range of traditional round zafus and enjoy your practice

what is the crescent zafu and what is it used for?
the crescent-shaped zafu has become increasingly popular in recent years. this, as the name suggests, is a pleated zafu cut and sewn in a crescent or kidney-bean shape. roughly two thirds the size of a round zafu, the crescent cushion is favored by some practitioners because it’s a bit more streamlined, and because the shape of the cushion provides more support for your upper thighs. it also provides more space to tuck in your heels as you sit, if a full lotus posture is difficult to maintain.

so take your pick from our range of crescent zafys and enjoy your practice

how do i know that the cushion i am buying is a zafu and not just another ordinary cushion?
a well-constructed zafu has the following features: it has a zippered or hook-and-loop closure so that the amount of filling can be adjusted, and so that the filling can be replaced if necessary, or simply removed when the shell needs to be laundered. it is made of a sturdy fabric like canvas, twill, duck, or denim, preferably machine-washable cotton. it has double or triple-sewn seams, which will extend the life of the cushion and prevent leakage in the event that a seam opens. a traditional zafu has evenly-spaced pleats around the sides, and a smooth, pucker-free top and bottom.

what is the significance of pleats on zafus?
you may be wondering about the pleated construction of these cushions, especially since there are cushions sometimes sold as zafus that don’t have any pleats. simply stated, a zafu is a sewn cushion you sit on. an unpleated cushion, if used regularly, will eventually separate at the seams from the long-term stress of bearing your weight. bed pillows, sofa cushions, and even rolled blankets can be pressed into service in a pinch, but none of these items are designed to hold your body weight for long periods, and all will show signs of wear and eventually disintegrate with this kind of use. a pleated zafu, on the other hand, is specially designed for use as a sitting cushion; the pleats allow the cushion to “give” with your weight, and the stuffing is thus automatically redistributed into the pleated spaces if you move about or shift your position, without placing undue stress on the seams.

what is the difference between them-buckwheat or cotton filling-million dollar question?
a good zafu is firmly stuffed with a high-quality filling like cotton or buckwheat hulls, (the dry triangular husks of buckwheat grains.) cotton filled zafus are lighter and provide a great loft. however as is the case with natural fibers, they compress and flatten over a long period time. buckwheat hulls shift slightly inside the cushion to conform to your body shape, and they provide a very comfortable, stable seat. while their initial loft is not as great as with cotton, they hold their shape better, and they don’t have cotton’s tendency to compress and flatten over time. the selection of filling for your zafu is largely a matter of personal preference. whilst buckwheat filled zafus retail their shape better and longer, they are also heavier than the cotton filled ones. both have similar type of maintenance and should be properly dried out in the sun if exposed to moisture or water.

what are zabutons?
 zafus provide you with the much needed support for the spine, thighs and tush, but by now you are probably also thinking about your poor aching knees and ankles, resting on the hard floor. this is where the zabuton is a lifesaver. a zabuton (literally, a “sitting futon”) is a large flattish cushion that you place underneath your zafu, as shown above. the zabuton provides a thick padded surface to cushion your ankles and knees and also to insulate you from the floor or ground. you can also use zabutons simply as a yoga mat.

as with zafus, the dimensions may vary, but these cushions generally measure between 28″ and 32″ square (occasionally you’ll see a rectangular zabuton.) the larger zabutons, designed for use with large zafus, are somewhat bigger, and can be up to 36″ square. the loft is usually between 2 and 4 inches.

what are the various filling options for zabuton?
a well-made zabuton is traditionally stuffed with thick cotton batting, and has a removable cover that can be laundered. some zabutons are tufted, others are not; the tufting keeps the batting from shifting inside the cushion. cotton batting is the norm, but you can also find zabutons stuffed with polyester fiberfill, although these are much more expensive and also not made of natural fibres. while a zabuton with polyester fiberfill will not shift and separate as much as cotton batting (if they are not tufted), it tends to produce a cushion that is too puffy to be really well-suited for its intended purpose. for the purist, traditional cotton batting is generally preferred. zafus and zabutons are often available in matching sets, and this is certainly the most economical way to purchase them. so take your pick from our range of zabutons and enjoy your practice.

yoga, acupuncture and pilates mats
how can using something as spiky as acupuncture mat help me unwind and relax?
the pain relief from the use of acupuncture mat is as a result of the body’s reaction production of its natural pain killers (endorphins) due to the pressure from the spikes. these are the same “feel good” chemicals released during exercising. endorphins give pain relief and a sense of physical well-being. oxytocin is also released during the use of the made and produces a feeling of relaxation and general feel good, allowing you wind down and find it easier to fall asleep. lie with your back on it for a few minutes every day or use it on your feet by standing on it or put your feet on it while sitting upright. so, use our acupuncture spike mat to help you relax and wind down after a long day.

why do i need a personal yoga and pilates mat? why can’t i just use the one provided in the gym or the studio?
there are 2 major factors which advocate for the use of a personal mat versus a shared mat-spiritual and scientific.

spiritual
the bhagavad-gita and many ancient hindu scriptures state that one should meditate and practice on a firm seat that is clean – here clean not only refers to not being soiled with dirt but also clean of unspiritual vibrations of others.  the thoughts and life force emanating from an individual saturates the objects he uses and their dwelling as well.  this is why spiritual or holy place holds a certain higher vibration than say a super market store. it is better to bring your own yoga accessories when attending class.  this is not to say that others are projecting bad energy and that you should avoid them,  however, they may releasing emotional blocks or doing spiritual work of their own that will be absorbed by the objects that surround them.  if you use these objects after them, you may pick up some of these vibrations and will have to use your energy to release them.  by using your own accessories, it will not only keep you from absorbing unspiritual vibrations and negative emotions left behind by others but it will allow you to increase the positive vibrations that you are building each time you meditate or practice yoga.

scientific
would you use a shared gym towel? then why would you use a shared mat which is used all the time by sweating people to stretch, work out classes, and walk over amongst others? how many times do you actually see the gym mats being cleaned before every new class? shared mats are one of the most common places people are likely to pickup fungi and skin infections from at a gym. they have a stench from repeated absorption of sweat and act as a breeding ground for infections like staph infection which can spread on contact and are antibiotic resistant. these nasty infections are incredibly difficult to kill and can cause small red bumps and itching. athletes foot is another common problem that spreads due to use of common mats (think of sweating, smelly feet on the mat). the best way to avoid these infections is to bring your own exercise mat instead of using shared mats at the gym and studio even if you are just using it for stretching and cool down.

what features should i look for while buying yoga mats?
your yoga mat is an important investment, both from the point of view of your practices as well as for your health. your yoga mat needs to keep you stable in your poses; and it needs to be storable and portable, yet comfy and cushy. ideally, yoga mats should reflect the principles of yoga, so make sure that they have been made with health and safety considerations in mind. the best yoga mats are non toxic and eco-friendly as what’s the point of doing yoga with a view to become healthy in body and mind yet use a mat that is damaging the environment. some of the main features you look for when choosing a yoga mat are listed below:

  • comfortable!
  • light and easy to carry around
  • non-slip
  • environmentally safe
  • durable and easy to care for.

billy the bee stores a range of eco- friendly yoga mats that come out tops on above criteria. so get one now and enjoy your practice.

to know more about how these factors affect the performance of your yoga mat and therefore yours, read on.

what factors impact the performance of a yoga or pilates mat?
key features that impact the performance of a yoga mat

  • thickness

the thickness of your mat has a lot to do with how comfortable it is — too thin, and your knee may get banged up during crescent lunge. the tradeoff is that thick mats can make it harder for you to feel a strong connection to the floor, making you more wobbly in tree pose, for example.
basic buying guide: consider how much room you have to stow your mat, how important portability is, and where your sweet spot is on comfort versus being able to feel a direct connection to the floor or sturdiness versus portability.

  • material

the material your mat is made of dictates its texture, stickiness, eco-friendliness and sponginess (how much it yields to pressure), and how it wears over time. most standard mats are made of pvc, otherwise known as vinyl. newer, more earth-friendly options include natural and recycled rubber, jute, and cotton.
basic buying guidelines: if you’re allergic to latex, avoid mats made of natural rubber. if you want to stick with the tried and true sticky mat without consequences to the environment, choose a mat made out of pvc. if you want a mat which is not only comfortable during practice but also eco-friendly, jute and cotton are the best. if you are used to practicing yoga on the pvc mat, it will take some time for you to get used to practicing your poses on jute and cotton mats. but practice makes one perfect J

  • texture and stickiness

the texture of your mat dictates how much traction it provides. like stickiness, texture affects how much slipping and sliding you do. it provides physical barriers to sliding (whereas stickiness relies on suction) and because texture affects the way a mat feels, it’s also a component of overall comfort.
basic buying guidelines: if you’re looking for a mat that prevents slipping and you’d like to avoid pvc mats (the traditional sticky mats), look for a rubber, jute or cotton mat that has a raised, tactile pattern. the added grip the raised texture provides can help you stay put no matter how sweaty or vigorous your practice gets.

if smoothness and highest stickiness is a higher priority to you than the eco-friendly nature of the mat a pvc mat is the way to go. and if you relish stickiness but are curious about the newer, more earth-friendly options, experiment with a few before you decide “the one”. some eco-friendly mats may surprise you with how much traction they provide even though they don’t have the traditional “sticky” feel.

  • eco-friendliness

as yogis, we hold dear the tenet of ahimsa, or non-violence. that makes practicing on a mat that will ultimately end up clogging a landfill for decades to come troublesome. we cannot practice yoga to create a healthy balance between our mind and body, yet choose a mat that is harmful to the planet.
basic buying guide: if eco-friendliness is important to you, avoid mats made of pvc (the traditional sticky mat), which does not break down in landfills and is difficult and costly to recycle. rubber, jute and cotton mats, while available in a range of thicknesses, tend to be thicker and slicker than pvc mats. you can get a mat that’s eco-friendly, has a thickness that meets your needs for comfort and portability, and has a texture (such as a raised geometric pattern) that prevents slippage. 

  • price range

typically, a basic 1/8 inch thick, plain solid-color pvc sticky mat will be toward the low end of the price range. eco-friendly mats tend to be toward the high end of the price range.

billy the bee stores a range of eco- friendly yoga mats that satisfies even the most demanding criteria. so get one now and enjoy your practice.

should i choose a mat made from natural materials or the synthetic sticky mat?
the users of sticky mat advocate it as it “supposedly” provides better stability and stickiness to the floor. however, if one looks at the subtle aspects of energy and connection, the use of natural materials, such as a cotton yoga rug or wool blanket, becomes far more important than the convenience of a cold, synthetic mat. if we look to the ancient texts on yoga, an understanding of why natural materials should be used in one’s yoga practice becomes clear.
looking to the bhagavad-gita, chapter vi, verse 11 states,
“?ucan de?e pratisth?pya sthiram ?sanam ?tmanah n?tyucchritam n?tinicam cail?jinaku?ottaram”
the yogi’s seat, in a clean place, should be firm (not wobbly), neither too high nor too low, and covered, first, with kusha grass, then with deer or tiger shin, then with a cloth.the use of kusha grass, was to protect the body against the dampness of the earth, however, today most people are practicing yoga and meditation inside where there is sufficient protection against dampness. so today this step may be avoided, however, the use of natural materials for the practice of asanas and meditation is still very important. think of your “foundation” and what it is build upon. the strong and earthly your foundation the stronger the results of your practice will be. in meditation, the importance of the animal skin or wool is to insulate the body against the pull of the earth currents. during meditation, the mind tries to withdraw the energy of his or her life force from the senses to the soul. if one uses natural materials, such as a wool blanket, sheep skin, or cotton mat, to insulate the body then the tug-of-war between the upward flow of the life force through the nerves and the downward pull of the earth currents is avoided. by using the appropriate material, one will gain a deeper awareness through their meditation and the practice of asanas. if one does not wish to use an animal skin, you should substitute it with a mat made of natural substances. the sticky mat provides no connection to the earth and interferes with the subtle energies that are being produced by the asanas being practiced. this is also true about the materials that one wears during yoga practice. wearing synthetic clothing blocks subtle energies and currents that are created during yoga practice, whereas natural materials, such as cotton or silk, aid in your practice by allowing the subtle energies to flow.

your guide to holy rudraksha beads
what is rudraksha?
understanding my rudraksha better
what is rudraksha?
what are the positive effects and benefits of wearing a rudraksha?
how do i perform a rudra abhishek or energize my rudraksha beads?
how do i clean and care for my rudraksha beads?

how do i respect for and get the most out of my rudraksha?

what is rudraksha?
the dried fruit of rudraksha tree is regarded as one of the most famous spiritual symbols of hinduism. in hindu mythology, it is believed that rudraksha is formed from the teardrops of lord shiva (supreme god of destruction and dissolution) and contains the secrets of the evolution of entire cosmos within it. “rudraksha” is formed by association of two sanskrit words, ‘rudra‘ and ‘aksha‘. rudra is another name of lord shiva and “aksha means ‘tear’. rudraksha berry which is botanically know as “elaeocarpus granitrus roxb.” are produced by “utrasum” trees in pocketed himalayan regions of nepal, indonesia, india & may be a few other countries. ancient scriptures, such as ‘shiva purana’, ‘padma purana’ and ‘srimad bhagvatam’ mention the greatness and wonderful powers of the rudraksha. it has been known to have magnetic powers as well.

it is also said to be one of the most auspicious and powerful seeds in this world, which can quash the effects of the malignant planets of a person. the beneficial powers of rudraksha are by virtue of its electrical and magnetic properties. rudraksha beads act as a stabilizing anchor. rudraksha has the ability to change its polarity which is said to not only provide health and spiritual benefits but also act as an anti-aging agent. taking good care of your rudraksha, having a strong faith in its properties and respecting them are the keys to benefitting the most from this holy seed.

understanding my rudraksha better

the following enables one to understand the divine rudraksha better:

  • mukhis/ faces – rudrakshas are classified on the basis of the number of mukhis or faces it has on its outer surface- “mukhis are the natural clefts or grooves or thread like lines running completely from the top to the bottom of the rudraksha.” each rudraksha represents a lord according to vedic texts and has a different corresponding effect, depending on the number of mukhis on it. for instance, if the bead has eight natural lines then it is a called as eight mukhi or eight faceted rudraksha which represents lord ashtavinayaka (obstacle remover) & is worn by one who faces regular obstacles in life..
  • shape – all the rudraksha from all origins are globular in shape, some are elliptically round in shape (2 & 3 mukhi), some are round in shape (4,5,6,7 & 8 mukhi) whereas some are oval in shape (curve like) (8 to 21 mukhi & above).there is only one rudraksha which is half moon like (crescent shape) & that is 1 mukhi from india.
  • size – the size of rudraksha beads range between 4mm to 45 mm aprox the nepalese rudrakshas are way bigger than the indonesian rudrakshas, the size range of nepalese beads would be 12 mm – 45mm approx & the average size of this origin would be 18mm approx, whereas the indonesian beads are pretty smaller with the size range of 4mm to 30mm & with an average size of 12mm.sometimes indonesian rudraksha is also produced in bigger size (32 mm & above) & they are highly rare in nature.
  • center hole – each and every rudraksha bead has a natural hole in the center, at times the hole is completely developed, at the times the hole may have developed upto ¾ level of the bead, whereas in some cases the hole may have not developed at all but definitely there would be an indication of the hole being there, the hole not being developed is very common in the case of rudraksha beads of very small sizes & of lower mukhis. 1 mukhi (half moon shape) from india do not have a natural hole. each & every rudraksha bead is covered naturally with pulp all around it, on cleaning or pealing of the pulp we find the rudraksha, the procedure of cleaning pealing doesn’t clean the natural hole, so before wearing usually the clearing of the hole is done manually. the natural hole enables us to string & wear the rudrakshas around different parts of our body.
  • body surface – each & every rudraksha bead has mukhis / facets naturally formed on its outer surface. one would find that the outer surface of nepalese rudraksha beads have lot of uneven natural protrusions with very deep & well formed mukhis whereas the indonesian rudrakshas are slightly smoother & their mukhis are not deep & also resemble thread like lines, indonesian rudrakshas with deeper grooves are rare. we also find in nature a different variety of rudraksha beads which are extremely smooth in nature & are called “chikna” beads.
  • number of seed – “the number of seeds in internal of each rudraksha bead will be equal to the number of mukhis that it has on its external structure.” if the number of seeds is not equal to the number of mukhis then there are chances of external manipulation taken place on the outer surface of rudraksha which further can be detected by an expert. this is the closest test to find out the genuinety of a rudraksha, this test also has some limitations as , at times when the rudrakshas are cut open it is noticed that the seeds are not well developed & hence appear like a very minute cavity or like a dot.
  • effects – effects of the rudraksha bead would vary from person to person depending upon the respect, faith the wearer has on it. it is said that regular respective mantra chanting on the bead also increases its effectiveness. before wearing the bead for the first time one should perform rudra abhishek (energize) on the bead for best effects.

what are the positive effects and benefits of wearing a rudraksha?

effects of the rudraksha bead would vary from person to person depending upon the respect, faith the wearer has on it. it is said that regular respective mantra chanting on the bead also increases its effectiveness. before wearing the bead for the first time one should perform rudra abhishek (energize) on the bead for best effects.
medicinal value
research has proven that rudraksha have powerful electromagnetic, paramagnetic and inductive properties that vary from the different mukhis or facets (the different number of divisions found on the surface of each bead). due to these properties it was found that wearing these beads around the heart reduced and controlled stress levels, blood pressure and hypertension resulting in the feeling of tranquility and calmness. these positive effects were noted by healers in eastern cultures, and they prescribed them to their patients.

it is remarkable to consider that natural beads of vegetable matter from the rudraksha tree affect the human neurophysiology as described in vedic literature. however recent scientific research has again found vedic knowledge to be correct.

in scientific terms the rudraksha beads are dielectric as they store electrical energy and they have permanent magnetic properties that change with the different mukhi (facets) beads. the complete list of all the properties found inherent in the rudraksha beads includes electromagnetism, para magnetism, diamagnetism and dynamic polarity or the ability to change polarity

  • when rudraksha beads are worn over the heart and energized through chanting of specific mantras they interface and integrate with the human body at a silent subtle level of consciousness. due to their dielectric and magnetic properties the rudraksha beads initiate and effect positive change in our neurophysiology.
  • the rudraksha effect brings the wearer into the alpha state of present moment living that all spiritual disciplines teach as the path to self empowerment, fearless life, enlightenment and liberation. the alpha state produced in the brain boosts the confidence and inner strength of the wearer significantly and as a result the heart beat, circulation, function of endocrine glands and activity of neurons and respiration is normalized in the physical body.
  • it was proven that wearing of rudraksha controlled heart beat and had a positive effect on blood pressure, stress, anxiety, depression, palpitations and lack of concentration.
  • it was also found that rudraksha beads have anti ageing properties based on their electromagnetism.

generations who have worn authentic rudraksha beads have repeatedly confirmed they have experienced considerable relief from high blood pressure, stress, hypertension and anxiety.

astrological properties
it is believed that rudraksha are very influential in removing bad effects of the planets. gems are used specially for removing the bad effects of planets. but if they are unable to pacify the evil influence, it is most advisable to wear rudraksha.

how do i perform a rudra abhishek or energize my rudraksha beads?

rudraksha is an auspicious product & we believe one should energize the same before using it for the 1st time to gain maximum benefits. the energizing procedure is very simple & one need not depend or trust anyone blindly to perform this act. there are many vendors who claim to energize the rudraksha before dispatching which may actually haven’t been done….moreover you are wearing rudraksha for your benefit so it would be great if you do not depend on anyone & take the extra effort to perform this auspicious & simple ritual on your own.

the below mentioned procedure can help you perform rudra abhishek on your own even without the help of a priest. you can perform this process in a lord shiva temple (with permission) or even at your home as per your convenience. we believe that you are wearing rudraksha for your benefit out of your belief, faith & respect, so we personally recommend that it is best if you energize your rudraksha yourself, rather than trusting anyone

procedure

  • choose an auspicious day. monday is lord shiva’s day and could be chosen.
  • place the rudraksha on a fresh unused plate.
  • wash rudraksha with unboiled fresh milk and then followed by water & keep chanting the mantra “om namaha shivaye” till you finish pouring milk & water on it.
  • offer incense and flowers & offer prayers for your well being.
  • chant the mantra “om namaha shivaye” minimum of 9 times or in multiple of nine times upto 108 times.
  • after completion of the above described steps take the rudraksha in your hand & thank the lord for giving you the opportunity to wear a rudraksha, pray for your well being, wear your rudraksha chanting “om namah shivaye” 9 times. thereafter, the rudraksha thus becomes divine, and creates a layer of divine armor around its worshipper and bestows prosperity.
  • if possible kindly donate anything as per your desire to a needy person.

“om namah shivaya” mantra energizes the rudraksha when chanted with them. keep the rudrakshas close to your body. rudraksha can also be kept in pooja altar and prayed for benefit of whole family.

how do i clean and care for my rudraksha beads?
a rudraksha bead appears to be very strong externally & can be passed on from generation to generation only if maintained properly, however no one could guess the age of a rudraksha bead as it could even be a few days, months or years. hence, one should also keep in mind that it is a natural product & subject to wear & tear if not handled & taken care of properly it can give way. one should avoid mishandling like throwing the bead / mala or playing with it as its contours might chip off or the bead might crack. here are a few tips that would help to maintain the bead.

  • rudraksha beads being a natural product contain natural oil, which on drying reduces the life of the bead, hence one should see to it that the beads are regularly oiled & free from fungus & insects. soaps, perfumes and excessive water spoils or might reduce the life of the bead by drying its natural oil and penetrating or sticking to it.
  • water is good for the beads but at the same time one should ensure the rudraksha are kept for complete drying as wet beads may attract fungus.
  • dip the beads in luke warm water & soak it for around half hour to 45 minutes.
  • delicately use a fresh / new & unused plastic / fiber bristle brush to clean the dirt and grime that fixes in the pores of the beads. this can be kept as a dedicated brush only to clean auspicious rudraksha beads & nothing else.
  • place the beads on a cloth or newspaper to absorb the excess water & expose it to sun for quick drying. allow it to dry for 1 to 2 days. meanwhile keep feeling the beads & you would get to know if they have dried up completely.
  • when the beads turn completely dry apply some olive oil or sandalwood oil on the beads by using a brush. these oils not only leave a nice soothing fragrance but also maintain the health of the rudraksha.
  • follow with energizing procedure to purify the newly cleaned rudraksha.
  • oiling can be repeated whenever the beads seem dry.

how do i respect for and get the most out of my rudraksha?
in order to ensure that you enjoy your rudrasksha to its fullest and ensure it longevity, we have compiled a short list that will guide you in forming a strong spiritual bond with it.

  • anyone can wear rudraksha , without any discrimination of caste, creed or sex
  • as rudraksha beads are extremely holy, maintain their sanctity treating them with respect, care & love.
  • keep them away from any kind of dirt, do not touch it with unclean hands and do not keep in a dirty place.
  • take it off while sleeping & keep in a pouch or a plate in your altar or in any clean or pure place leaving it undisturbed. resume wearing them in the morning after bath and cleansing.
  • one should not interchange their rudraksha with anyone. the mala & its possessor get use to each other & form a bond which should not be disturbed.
  • rudraksha should not be worn while having sex and by women when they are menstruating.
  • rudraksha can be kept in house, office, factory, or any place of work or pooja room (altar) to get positive energy flow in the same premises.
  • meditate with the rudraksha mala by chanting “om namah shivaye” often to form a strong spiritual connection with it.
  • rudraksha should be kept well cleaned and oiled, at least once in two months.
  • rudraksha should be energized before using it for the first time & it is said that one should preferably start wearing it on a monday (since it is lord shiva’s day).
  • never lose faith in rudraksha, it is said that it positively gives effects.

 

everything you need to know about japa malas
what is a japa mala?
why does my japa mala have 108 japa beads?
what is the sumeru bead in my japa mala?
what is a japa mala made of?
how do i correctly use my japa mala?
how do i energize my japa mala?

how do i clean and care for my japa mala?
how do i respect for and get the most out of my rudraksha?

what is a japa mala?
a japa mala or mala is a set of beads commonly used by hindus and buddhists, usually made from 108 beads (109th bead being called the sumeru bead), though other numbers, usually divisible by 9, are also used. the malas can be made from many different types of natural woods like plain wood to other holy objects like tulsi, rudraksha bead, lotus seeds, turmeric etc. malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. this practice is known in sanskrit as japa. always use the mala correctly and energize it before starting to wear it. during meditation, mantras are typically repeated hundreds or even thousands of times. the mala is used so that one can focus on the meaning or sound of the mantra rather than counting its repetitions. one repetition is usually said for each bead while turning the thumb clockwise around each bead, though some traditions or practices may call for counterclockwise motion or specific finger usage. when arriving at the head bead, one turns the mala around and then goes back in the opposing direction. there are typically knots between each bead. this makes using the mala easier as the beads will not be so tight on the string when you use them.

why does my japa mala have 108 japa beads?
there are numerous explanations why there are 108 beads, with the number 108 bearing special religious significance in a number of hindu traditions.

  • the four parts (charans) of each of the twenty-seven lunar asterisms (nakshatras) that is 27 x 4 equals one hundred and eight. these are represented by 108 beads in the mala. this reminds one of the fact that the vedic teachings have to be propagated to these 108 places.
  • the beads symbolize the 108 sensate foci in our body.
  • an average person breathes 21,600 times a day. if a seeker gives half these breaths to worldly activities then he should devote atleast the remaining half, that is 10,800 breaths to spiritual practice. so, chanting of a minimum of 100 turns (malas) of a mala consisting of 108 beads should be done everyday
  • they represent the 108 upanishads.
  • the names of vishnu and shiva in the mahabharat are also 108.
  • the major psychiatric illnesses according to the ayurveda too are 108.
  • the number of the deities of knowledge and the various sciences is 108 as well.
  • as per hindusim, there are 108 auspicious moments(muhurts) in a year and the couplets of the three vedas also equal 108.

 

what is the sumeru bead in my japa mala?
the 109th bead on a mala is called the sumeru, bindu, stupa, or guru bead. counting should always begin with a bead next to the sumeru. in the hindu, vedic tradition, if more than one mala of repetitions is to be done, one changes directions when reaching the sumeru rather than crossing it.

what is a japa mala made of?
a wide variety of materials are used to make mala beads, though there are common standards. beads made from the seeds of the rudraksha tree are considered sacred by saivas, devotees of siva, while beads made from the wood of the tulsi plant are used and revered by vaishnavas, followers of vishnu. others use wood or seeds from the bodhi tree or seeds of the lotus plant. semiprecious stones such as carnelian and amethyst may be used, as well.

how do i correctly use my japa mala?
hindu tradition holds that the correct way to use a mala is with the right hand, with the thumb flicking one bead to the next, and with the mala draped over the middle finger. the index finger represents ego, the greatest impediment to self-realization, so it is considered best avoided when chanting on a mala.

the japa mala should always be drawn towards oneself which chanting or meditating. observe what one experiences when the mala is pushed away from oneself as against drawing it to oneself. a majority experience distress. the reason for this is that when drawing the mala towards oneself the vital energy, pranvayu is active while when pushing it away the vital energy,  samanvayu is active. more bliss (anand) is experienced when the pranvayu is active in comparison to the samanvayu.

how do i energize my japa mala?
japa mala is an auspicious product & we believe one should energize the same before using it for the 1st time to gain maximum benefits. the energizing procedure is very simple & one need not depend or trust anyone blindly to perform this act. there are many vendors who claim to energize the mala before dispatching which may actually haven’t been done….moreover you are wearing the mala for your benefit so it would be great if you do not depend on anyone & take the extra effort to perform this auspicious & simple ritual on your own. we believe that you are wearing the mala for your benefit out of your belief, faith & respect, so we personally recommend that it is best if you energize it yourself , rather than trusting anyone

procedure

  • choose an auspicious day.
  • place the japa mala on a fresh unused plate.
  • sprinkle (not wash) the japa mala with unboiled fresh milk and then followed by clean water while chanting the mantra “om”.
  • wipe the japa mala dry with a clean cloth.
  • offer incense and flowers & offer prayers for your well being.
  • chant the mantra “om” minimum of 9 times or in multiple of nine times upto 108 times.
  • after completion of the above described steps take the japa mala in your hand & thank the lord for giving you the opportunity to wear a japa mala, pray for your well being, wear your mala chanting “om” 9 times.
  • keep your japa mala close to your body and regularly use it to meditate so that a strong spiritual bond is formed between you and your mala.
  • never exchange or give away your mala to anyone else as this unique bond will thus be disturbed.


how do i clean and care for my japa mala?

one should keep in mind that it is a natural product & subject to wear & tear if not handled & taken care of properly it can give way. one should avoid mishandling like throwing the bead / mala or playing with it as its contours might chip off or the bead might crack. here are a few tips that would help to maintain the bead.

  • as most of the japa mala beads (except rudraksha) are smooth to touch, they do not attract dust and dirt like rudraksha does (due to its natural contours and edges). therefore they do not require a special cleaning ritual.
  • if they are kept in their bag and are used frequently, the natural oils of the fingers will clean them automatically during the process of meditating.
  • if you feel the need, you can wipe them gently with a clean moist cloth and ensure it is completely dry before using or storing it again.

respecting and getting the most out of my japa mala
in order to ensure that you enjoy your japa mala to its fullest and ensure its longevity, we have compiled a short list that will guide you in forming a strong spiritual bond with it.

  • anyone can wear malas, without any discrimination of caste, creed or sex
  • as malas are extremely holy, maintain their sanctity treating them with respect, care & love.
  • keep them away from any kind of dirt, do not touch it with unclean hands and do not keep in a dirty place.
  • take the mala off while sleeping & keep in a pouch or a plate in your altar or in any clean or pure place leaving it undisturbed. resume wearing them in the morning after bath and cleansing.
  • one should not interchange their mala with anyone. the mala and its possessor form a bond which should not be disturbed.
  • malas should not be worn while having sex and by women when they are menstruating.
  • malas can be kept in house, office, factory, or any place of work or pooja room (altar) to get positive energy flow in the same premises.
  • malas are a tool of meditation. meditate with the mala by chanting “om” or any holy mantra often to form a strong spiritual connection with it.
  • never lose faith in your mala, it is said that it positively gives effects.


what is om?
om or aum is of paramount importance in hinduism. this symbol is a sacred syllable representing brahman, the impersonal absolute of hinduism — omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the unknowable. om, therefore, represents both the unmanifest (nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of god. that is why it is called pranava meaning that it pervades life and runs through our prana or breath.

om in daily life
although om symbolizes the most profound concepts of hindu belief, it is in use daily. hindus begin their day or any work or a journey by uttering om. the sacred symbol is often found at the head of letters, at the beginning of examination papers and so on. many hindus, as an expression of spiritual perfection, wear the sign of om as a pendant. this symbol is enshrined in every hindu temple premise or in some form or another on family shrines.

it is interesting to note that a newly born child is ushered into the world with this holy sign. after birth, the child is ritually cleansed and the sacred syllable om is written on its tongue with honey. thus right at the time of birth the syllable om is initiated into the life of a hindu and ever remains with him as the symbol of piety.

the eternal syllable
according to mandukya upanishad (an ancient hindu text), “om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. the past, the present, and the future are all included in this one sound, and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it”.

the music of om
om is not a word but rather an intonation, which, like music, transcends the barriers of age, race, culture and even species. it is made up of three sanskrit letters, aa, au and ma which, when combined together, make the sound aum or om. it is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds. it is a mantra or prayer in itself. if repeated with the correct intonation, it can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates to the centre of one’s being, the atman or soul.

there is harmony, peace and bliss in this simple but deeply philosophical sound. by vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the ultimate personality of godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the highest state of “stateless” eternity, states the bhagavad gita (an ancient hindu text).

the vision of om
om provides a dualistic viewpoint. on one hand, it projects the mind beyond the immediate to what is abstract and inexpressible. on the other hand, it makes the absolute more tangible and comprehensive. it encompasses all potentialities and possibilities; it is everything that was, is, or can yet be. it is omnipotent and likewise remains undefined.

the power of om
during meditation, when we chant om, we create within ourselves a vibration that attunes sympathy with the cosmic vibration and we start thinking universally. the momentary silence between each chant becomes palpable. mind moves between the opposites of sound and silence until, at last, it ceases the sound. in the silence, the single thought (om) is quenched; there is no thought. this is the state of trance, where the mind and the intellect are transcended as the individual self merges with the infinite self in the pious moment of realization. it is a moment when the petty worldly affairs are lost in the desire for the universal. such is the immeasurable power of om.

how to type it on your computer

try this! to get the om symbol on your computer screen, open ms word and key in backslash ( \ ) in wingdings font. you will type in om!

what is tulsi and what benefits can it give me?
tulsi is thought to be the most sacred of woods in india and indian worship, and the plant of tulsi is believed to be the incarnation of the divine itself. the tulsi mala is made of the wood or the seeds of tulsi and is used for name chanting and worship. moreover, the tulsi mala is said to have incredible spiritual and physical healing powers apart from helping the mind to focus during prayers.

the tulsi mala can be worn on the neck or tied around the fist. the benefits of the leaves of tulsi is well proven, and owing to its spiritual and physical healing powers, the touch of the tulsi wood acts as a rejuvenator for the stressed mind and brings the spiritual self of a person closer to god. on top of that, wearing the tulsi mala is supposed to bring good luck and fortune to the devoted wearer. tulsi clears the aura, and its subtle smell fills the heart with sensation of the divine. the tulsi mala is used to worship lord ram and krishna, different incarnations of lord vishnu who is believed to be the creator and the beloved of the tulsi.

the health benefits of ingesting tulsi are numerous:

  • it works as a powerful antioxidant thereby helps in preventing early aging signs and makes the skin young.
  • acts as an anti bacterial and anti parasitic.
  • tulsi impacts nervous system providing strength, relieves stress and pain.
  • it work as an appetizer and promotes digestion by helping in secretion of digestive enzymes.
  • it helps in preventing flatulence and avoids constipated stool.
  • it is an effective natural cure for upper respiratory tract infection (urti).
  • it is very useful in bronchitis and asthmatic conditions.
  • it works as antibiotic eliminating the bacteria.
  • regular ingestion of tulsi s said to help keeping diabetics in check.

how can yoga straps assist me in my practice?
yoga straps benefit an already calming form of exercise by adding to its effectiveness. your exercises session can have added value just by adding these straps alone.
yoga straps come in all lengths and are usually made out of cotton or nylon. it is a very important prop, especially for beginners. the main purpose of straps are to help you stay in a stretching pose longer or reach limbs you cannot reach because of your flexibility levels. an example of such a pose is the supta padangusthasana. a yoga strap will help you improve flexibility quicker which will help you advance in yoga.

yoga straps can be used at all levels of yoga and let you to hold your limbs that you might not be able to reach or grasp in a pose as well as assisting you to hold a pose longer. yoga straps are especially helpful in bound poses when your hands cannot reach the other or in poses where you can’t reach your feet. by having yoga strap by your side you can attain the flexibility factor which may be missing in your body structure. they can be used to hold your legs in a trikonasana, stretch your shoulder in the sarvangasana, and a host of other yoga poses. J

what is su jok?

su jok is a new system of treatment, comprising a variety of methods used to stimulate only the fingers and toes with a rounded object, seeds or where advanced su jok is concerned, with needles.

the principle behind su jok is that there is a continuous flow of energy in all of us. this energy flows in a very systematic and uniformed manner. su jok’s aim is to balance the of imbalance energy in the body by stimulating fingers and toes. since fingers and toes are the miniature projections of the limb (hand and legs) and of the whole trunk(our core), not only does the fingers/toes massage make it possible to cure diseases involving the entire arm or foot, but it can also produce a curative and most beneficial effect on the body.

the best part of su jok is that, unlike other acupressure and acupuncture therapies, where one requires to learn the corresponding nerve points and then practice under professional guidance, in su jok therapy all the nerve points of the body are located on both hands and feet. it is astonishingly simple. if your health problem is of recent origin, su jok gives virtually instant relief. where chronic problems are concerned, su jok, if done systematically, certainly gives relief over time.

how do i use my su jok ring?

  • simply roll the ring up & down the length of each finger/toe to receive an incredibly invigorating and warm sensation.
  • rolling the ring on the thumb or big toe for 2 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of headache, toothache, stiffness of neck, cervical spondylosis, tension, insomnia and colds.
  • rolling the ring on the little finger or toe for 2 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of tension in the hands or feet.
  • rolling the ring on the middle and ring finger or toe for 3 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of knee-joint pain, sciatica, stomach pain, back pain, ankle pain and calf pain.
  • rolling the ring on the first and middle finger or toe is traditionally used to improve the function of the digestive system and lungs

so get your wonderful su jok ring today and get healthy fashionably J