A Yoga Mama Muses on Malas and the Moon

Sunday morning my teenage daughter asked me a question: “What is one thing in your life you wish you could change?” My reply…”Just ONE????” While the humor in that response may have been lost on her, it made the drive to soccer not only long but also pensive.

Yoga has taught me the importance of living in the present moment. As a result, I spend less and less time living in the past or in the future. I find this to be the most kind and calm way to live, especially with the busyness of work and family. I recognize what I can control, what I can or can’t change, and act accordingly. While this philosophy makes sense for me on a day-to-day basis, sometimes a little reflection is necessary in order to grow.

That night I decided I would take her to the beach to watch the lunar eclipse. I spared her the the “cosmic analysis” of what this event could cause or create. I did talk to her about the two broken malas I brought. I explained how when a mala breaks, it is releasing energy, ending a “karmic cycle” and is no longer needed by the wearer. That by making these broken beads an “offering” of some sort, you close a chapter and are ready to choose a new mala. I spared her the deeply personal details behind these pieces, or at least one of them.

My sister gave me a stunning mala for Christmas last year, a symbol of peace and comfort, following a long stretch without either. It was the only thing on my mental “Christmas list,” but I hadn’t told anyone that. I wore it every day, brought it to practice and to teach. It looked great with basically everything in my wardrobe. I used it to pray, to reinforce my intention and my mantra, and peace and comfort it brought me. This mala broke a few months ago, the same week my sister was scheduled to spend the weekend at our house watching our children. It was a lot for me to ask this of her, and a generous step towards healing when she accepted. I loved this mala, as much for it’s beauty as for the many things it represented. I was sad when it broke, but the timing was right. The bridge from my sister’s heart to mine started to be rebuilt last Christmas and was nearing a stage of completion. I no longer needed that mala.

I received a new mala last week and brought that one too, laying it on my blanket next to the broken ones, and told my daughter that doing so would enable it to absorb the moon’s energy. I spared her the reasons I selected this particular mala, the significance of the stones and what I hoped to gain by wearing it. I didn’t share the details of my new intention.

When I answered my daughter’s question (for real), I let her know we can only learn from our past and hope to gather strength from that which has challenged us. I’m grateful to her for initiating my self-reflection just in time to maximally benefit from it as we watched that beautiful eclipse over the ocean. No doubt about it, my current favorite and most comfortable way to live is placing one foot in front of the other and not dwelling on a past I can’t change or worrying about a future that still holds miles ahead. But only once forced to look back, did I realize how far I’ve come.

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