I made a mala today, and I learned that 108 is significant in the making of a mala.

Malas are used in meditation, and we were able to choose the different beads that had significance for us. Different gemstones are supposed to have different properties, some for letting go, others for opening up, some for accepting that life isn’t clear, others for seeing beyond the obvious. I’m too pragmatic to believe that stones can accomplish things by themselves, but I’m also too pragmatic not to believe in the power of belief, of suggestion. It is a form of focus, which is helpful. That’s what meditation is about, on some levels.

Making the malas was a fun experience, and now I have a mala that I’m completely unsure of how to use, being a novice in meditation practice. That’s okay, it gives me something to work on, and I have been wanting to make meditation a bigger part of my life anyway.

Tomorrow I’ll start the day with a Mala practice, which is 108 Sun Salutations. This is in solidarity with the Global Mala Project, started by Shiva Rea.

On September 21-23, the Global Mala Project, whose purpose is to unite the global yoga community, will implement events throughout the world in honor of the United Nations International Day of Peace. Forming a “mala around the earth” through collective practices based upon the sacred cycle of 108, the mission of the Global Mala Project is to raise both funds and consciousness for some of the most pressing issues facing the world today.

Taking its name from the sacred prayer beads called “mala” used in India and Tibet as meditation guides, the Global Mala Project will benefit Trees for the Future, Youth Health Alliance and numerous other charities and projects being supported by local community leaders. Composed of 108 beads, the mala is symbolic of the prayer for peace, hope and charity the Global Mala Project will be sending to the world.

“With the rising threat of Global Warming, the illusion of separateness is dissolving around the world,” said Shiva Rea, world renowned Yoga teacher and catalyst for the Global Mala Project. “Yoga is one of the few common denominators for millions of people around the world; together we are creating a circle around the earth and dedicating our energy to peace.”

For anyone who has read “Eat, Pray, Love”, you might recognize that the theme of 108 appeared throughout that book. Or so I was told today, as we made our malas. A good friend recently gave me her copy of that book, after having read it herself and been moved by it. It is definitely a book I’ll dig into soon. (Thanks, Leanne!)