The Spiritual Meaning of 108

Yoga’s Sacred Number

“In yoga, the number 108 refers to spiritual completion. It is why japa malas are composed of 108 beads, why pranayama is often completed in cycles of 108, and why sun salutations are often performed in nine rounds of the 12 postures (totaling 108). By practicing chanting, breath work, or asana in rounds of this sacred number, the ancient yogis believed we could align ourselves with the rhythm of the creation, and ultimately bring an end to our cycle of reincarnation.” -Helen Avery, Wanderlust

Malas have 108 stones are traditionally used for repeating mantras in meditation, symbolizing a spiritual connection.

Malas have been used for thousands of years in various ways across cultures. The common thread is their symbolism of living intentionally and inspiring connection with Divine Spirit, whether you like to call that God, the Universe or something else… it’s that recognition that we are part of a larger web of life, that we are all connected, and that there is an energy greater than ourselves holding it all together… an energy we can trust for guidance.

Why 108?

“The number’s significance is open to interpretation. But 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads (plus one for the “guru bead,” around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun). A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.

Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.

According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.” -Shiva Rea, Yoga Journal

Malas

Every mala necklace I create is in the Eastern tradition and contains 108 stones plus one “guru bead,” totaling 109. I started making jewelry when I was a young girl, following in my mother’s footsteps. I loved the creativity involved, and working with my hands. I also adore the self-expression of getting dressed everyday, an art of which clothing and accessories become the medium. When I fell in love with vinyasa yoga and began teaching in 2010, my love for jewelry making came back into my life. Every mala I create is infused with my love and passion for yoga, art, healing, and spirituality. All of these things involve the desire to raise our awareness in order to live our happiest lives and be the highest, best version of ourselves possible everyday.

You can use your mala in meditation or just wear it as a symbol of your current intentions in life. All my designs are 100% original. Every piece is slightly different, making them all one of a kind. When choosing a mala, allow your intuition to guide you. Which one are you immediately drawn to? Start there and then learn about the stones to see what they symbolize. You will understand at that point why you chose it.