I like malas. There’s something powerful about wearing them- like they give off energy that encapsulates you, empowers you, and protects you. When I did yoga teacher training, we practiced abhyanga, the practice of self-massage with warm oils. I remember our instructor telling us that she felt like she was “putting on her armour against the world.” This is how I feel with malas. When I wear a mala, I feel like there is something more to me- that I am somehow connected and separate from everything around me.
The other day at work I was interviewed for a book. I was really nervous. I wanted to represent myself, my students, and my profession well. This is my “Year of Gratitude” and I wanted to embody my gratefulness for the opportunity to present myself and my students and not let my nerves overpower me. I chose to wear a mala that morning that had the intention of finding peace. During the interview, when I was talking, I held the stone in my hand. I think it’s become a nervous habit, but one I’m really proud to own (let’s not talk about nail biting!). As I held it, and thought of their deep questions about race and belonging, my mind settled. I was able to clearly and, with pause, find the right words to express my ideas. It was so surreal.
As I move through my “Year of Gratitude,” I want to be more mindful of setting intentions for my days and with my malas. I found that in those moments, when I’m nervous or have a big “thing” to do, touching the mala is almost a mini-meditation. That just by setting and verbalizing my intention or hope for that experience, I can reset myself to be clear and calm. How cool is that?
I wanted to share some of my favorite intentions that I’m hoping to channel in my “Year of Gratitude”
- Do good and good will come to you.
- You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
- Important encounters are planned by souls long before the bodies see each other.
- I am building myself.
- Live the life you dreamt.
- Be grateful. Every day. For every thing.
So when I want to be powerful, and present, and remember my intention, I will come back to that nervous touch of my mala. I will try to remember not to be nervous, and instead to channel my gratitude for this moment.
Kaitlin is a high school Government and English Language teacher in Boston, MA. She first found yoga in college and is now a registered yoga teacher. A huge foodie, Kaitlin and her husband are always exploring new restaurants or cooking (and drinking wine!) at home with their cat, Three. Read more on her website: www.kaitlinteaches.com