Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review Time! Custom Mala Shop's Exclusive Howlite and Lapis Lazuli Pocket Mala

Simply Breathtaking
As many of you know, I have a deep passion for collecting prayer beads. I have prayer beads from a variety of cultures and religions within my connection: including Buddhist malas, Christianity rosaries, and Pagan prayer beads. Yet this is the first pocket mala to ever grace my collection. Pocket malas are smaller versions of the standard 108 count malas used for meditation and devotional practices. The standard number of 108 counter beads is divided by 4 giving us 27 counters beads - allowing you to take your mala with you anywhere! This pocket mala was lovely hand-crafted by Jason Walz of Custom Mala Shop and features many aspect that are exclusive - If you truly want a one-of-a-kind mala Custom Mala shop is the place to go.

Custom Mala Shop's Exclusive Features:

Bead Re-drilling:
Each of the beads are individually re-drilled using a specialized process of submerging the bead in water as it is drilled. The craftsmanship of the drill work is exquisite and smooth, which helps the cord to last longer and protects it from becoming damaged through use.

Three Cord Design:
Unlike most malas I have purchased, this mala is designed to withstand the riggers of daily meditative use. It features three strands of 1.5mm cord, which is much thicker and stronger than standard .8mm cord making this mala far more durable. Each of the beads of this mala were re-drilled so that they could be stung onto the three cords. When comparing the cords of this mala to the cords of malas in my collection, I quickly found that there is no comparison - this mala feels far more durable than any of the others. This mala features three cords in pink, light blue, and light purple.

Adjustable Knot Design:
This mala features a very unique knotting design that allows you to adjust the space between the beads. Personally I love this feature because it allows me to choose how much spacing between the beads I would like. To the best of my knowledge this is an exclusive design only found at Custom Mala Shop.

High Quality Beads:
The quality of the Howlite and Lapis Lazuli beads is very impressive. They have such a wonderful lustrous and glow about them. These beads are not only beautiful they are a pleasure to hold.
Below are the measurements of the beads
  • 25 x 10mm White Howlite main beads
  • 2 x 8mm Deep Blue Lapis main beads
  • 2 x 12mm Deep Blue Lapis marker beads
  • 1 x 12mm Deep Blue Lapis guru bead
3-D Sterling Silver Pendent:
Attached to this mala is a gorgeous sterling silver seated Buddha pendant. Unlike most pendents you will find attached to malas else where this pendent is 3-dimensional with beautiful craftsmanship.

Whats makes Custom Mala Shop truly unique is that you can custom design your own mala anyway you want. Each mala at Custom Mala Shop is made to order and can be custom designed. If you are looking for something that isn't listed on the main website contact the artist with your special requests. If you can dream it, he can make it! Including malas made from such exotic materials as wooly mammoth ivory - a form of fossil ivory that is over 10,000 years old!

Artist Bio:
"My name is Jason Walz and I am the proprietor of the Custom Mala Shop. I consider myself a non-denominational Dharma Practitioner who follows no single teacher or lineage. I originally became interested in Dharma Practice through the Martial Arts and Taoism. While practicing martial arts I became much more interested in the "why" of the arts rather than the physical process (although really they are one and the same). So, I first started to investigate Taoism. That in turn led me to investigate Buddhism and the Buddha's teachings. The Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path resonated with me immediately. I had always been interested in religion in general (I have a BA in anthropology) but the Buddha's teachings seemed to transcend the rote scholarly approach to religion. They offered to me a way to approach life that simply "made sense".

Now, several years later, I no longer practice the martial arts but I focus a great deal of my time not only contemplating the Buddha's teachings but also hopefully living them partially through my effort of practicing Right Livelihood. Right Livelihood is of course the 5th step in the Eight Fold Path. It is through Right Livelihood that one attempts to earn a living while not harming others; while not acting selfishly; while contributing to the lessening of the suffering of others. I hope that the Malas I make help to accomplish this. Making Malas also allows me to express myself artistically. Although really it is the customer who comes up with the majority of the creativity involved I do get to play at "artist" as I put together the customer's creation. I get great satisfaction and peace from doing something as simple as watching a diamond tipped drill bit slowly sink into a lapis bead. I find it relaxing to sit and drop bead after bead onto a strand of cord and listen to the "clack-clack-clack".

A little more biographically speaking I am a single dad of two stunningly wonderful kids. I also have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks that help me make Malas by sleeping on the sofa all day (or under my feet!). I live in sunny Mesa Arizona and ride my mountain bike on the local trails daily. I recently (as of June 2011) left my regular 9-5 job in favor of making Malas full-time. The Custom Mala Shop is now my main source of income although I am still doing as little database management on a consulting basis." ~ Jason Walz

About Malas:


  • Buddhist prayer beads, traditionally called malas, first developed as a religious tool on the Indian continent. "The use of beads in prayer appears to have originated with Hindu religious practices in India, possibly around the 8th century," writes the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri. Since the 8th century the practice of using a mala during meditating as been seen in Buddhism, Hindus and among those from any walk of life who enjoy meditation.


  • Standard Buddhists mala normally consist of 108 beads, but the number may vary in different sects of Buddhism. Each bead is a symbol of impurities and flaws that an individual must overcome.
    108 beads is said to represent the following formula:
    6 x 3 x 2 x3 = 108
    6 senses of a human being: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought
    3 times: past, present, future
    2 conditions of heart, mind or intention: pure or impure
    3 disturbing emotional states or "kleshia": like, dislike, indifference

Significance in Buddhism

  • The Buddha himself is believed to have instructed his followers to utilize the use of malas. There is a Sutra (Buddhist Text) in which a King asks to the Buddha for a simple practice to help ease his suffering from various difficulties. Buddha responded by telling him to string 108 seeds and recite the three part refuge prayer upon them.


  • The word mala, also referred to as japa mala, is derived from the Indian Sanskrit phrase for garland. The English word rosary, the western term for prayer beads, owes it's etymology to Roman miscommunication. "When Roman explorers came into India and encountered the mala, they heard japa mala, and japa for the Romans meant 'rose,'' according to ReligionFacts.com. The word "rosary" eventually evolved from that translation as Romans carried the prayer bead concept back to the western world.
About Gemstone Properties:
When purchasing a mala for meditation it is always a good idea to look into the spiritual symbolism and metaphysical properties of the materials from which the mala is made. This mala holds many symbolic aspects that make it unique.

Howlite Beads:
Meditating with Howlite is thought to help reduce anxiety, tension and stress. Howlite is believed to hold many other metaphysical properties such as: helping to facilitate awareness, encouraging emotional expression and assisting in the elimination of pain, stress and rage. Howlite is believed to be a stone of attunement, helping one to access her higher spiritual consciousness. For this reason Howlite is thought to strengthen positive character traits, removing selfishness, rude behavior, and greed. It is also thought to help with connecting to the Divine and to slowly remove the veils that block truth.

Stone Type/Family: Member of the Silicates and Carbonates Class
Crystal System: Monoclinic
Chemical Composition: Ca2B5SiO9(OH)5 Calcium Boro-silicate Hydroxide
Hardness: 2.5-3.5

Primary Chakra: ALL
Astrological sign(s): Gemini, Virgo

Fun Fact: Howlite is named after Henry How of Nova Scotia when he first described it in 1868.

Lapis Lazuli Beads:
Meditating with Lapis Lazuli is thought to bring inner peace, assist with openness, strengthen inner power, help one to express love, expand intuitive skills, and bring purification. In ancient times Lapis Lazuli was thought to strengthen the mind and body, allowing one's inner power to manifest. It was also thought to purify one's thoughts and bring inner peace. Symbolically Lapis Lazuli represents the power of the spoken word and is thought to help foster verbal expression, and clear problems caused by fear of speaking in public. Lapis Lazuli is said to encourage clear, truthful expression when sharing information with others. The ancient Egyptians used Lapis Lazuli as a symbol of Truth. Practitioners of crystal healing say that Lapis Lazuli is a good stone to expand intuitive skills while remaining objective and open to reasoned analysis. It is also thought that this gemstone shields against negative emotions.

Stone Type/Family: A member of the Feldspathoid Family, Silicates Class. Lapis Lazuli, or Lapis for short, is mostly Lazurite with inclusions of Pyrite, Calcite and other minerals.
Crystal System: Isometric
Chemical Composition: (Na,Ca)8(Al,Si)12O24S2FeS CaCO3Al2O3, Sodium Calcium aluminumosilicate
Hardness: 5.5-6.5

Primary Chakra:  Throat, Third Eye, Crown
Astrological sign(s): Sagittarius

Fun Fact: Lapis Lazuli is said to have been in existence since the birth of time, and was used by ancient Hebrews on ceremonial robes. Lapis Lazuli is one of the original stones in the breastplate of the High Priest.

Sterling Silver Medallion:
Silver is a metal associated with intuition, love, inner peace and protection. Symbolically silver relates to the moon and is often associated with the yin or feminine energies. For this reason it is thought to help over come aggressiveness by bringing peace into one's awareness. It is also said that silver acts as a "mirror to the soul", allowing one to see deep within the herself with absolutely no judgment.

Stone Type/Family: A member of the Gold Group, Elements Class
Crystal System: Isometric
Chemical Composition: Ag, Elemental silver
Hardness: 2.5-3

Primary Chakra: ALL
Astrological sign(s): Cancer, Aquarius
Vibration: Number 4

Fun Fact: Silver is used in jewelry, tableware, coins, scientific equipment and in photographic processes.

Color Symbolizism - Light Pink Cord:
Pink is the color of universal love. It is a quiet soothing color that is thought to provide feelings of caring, tenderness, self-worth and love, acceptance.

Color Symbolizism - Light Blue Cord:
Blue is the color of harmony. It is the most smoothing color and is thought to have a calming affect. Symbolically light blue is the color of inspiration, sincerity, peace, and spirituality.

Color Symbolizism - Light Purple Cord:
Purple is the color of good judgment. It is thought to encourage peace of mind and aid mediation. Symbolically it is the color of spiritual fulfillment, magic, mystery and royalty.

The Benefits of Meditation:
Science has proven that practicing meditation on a regular bases has many health benefits. Studies show that with as little 10 to 15 minutes of daily meditation we can improve our physical and emotional health, while at the same time strengthening our minds. Considering the benefits, devoting a few minutes of your day to meditation is time well spent. Below are the benefits.

  1. Stabilizes the autonomous nervous system.
  2. Increases concentration, self-esteem, spontaneity, creativity, and depth of awareness. Studies also show that mediators have warmer interpersonal relationships, less anxiety, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, increased problem-solving ability and greater creativity.
  3. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
  4. It reduces the heart beat
  5. Lowers high blood pressure- There is strong evidence that meditation helps lower blood pressure in people who are normal or moderately hypertensive. This finding has been replicated by more than nineteen studies, some of which have shown systolic reductions among their subjects of 25 mmHg or more. A few people with acute hypertension have also experienced lower blood pressure in experiments of this kind. Several studies, however, have shown that relief from high blood pressure diminishes or disappears entirely if meditation is discontinued(not practiced on a regular bases)."
  6. EMG activity increases
  7. Stomach function and bowel function improve
  8. The endocrine function is heightened- It has been recently demonstrated that meditation reduces sympathetic adrenergic receptor sensitivity, producing a decreased response to stressful situations.
  9. Body posture is improved
  10. Stamina increases
  11. Improved energy level and vitality
  12. Production of serotenine increases- Serotonin influences mood and behavior in many ways. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to a variety of disorders. For example, conditions associated with low serotonin levels include: depression, obesity, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
  13. Intake of oxygen gets stronger
  14. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
  15.  Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.
  16. Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.
  17. Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.
  18. Helps those who suffer from insomnia:: When trained in meditation, 75% of suffers experienced improvement.19. Helps to improve chronic diseases like allergies , asthma etc.
  19. Helps those who suffer from Chronic Pain
  20. Helps in post-operative healing.
  21. Enhances the immune system.
  22. Improved Awareness and Concentration.
  23. Slows the aging process
  24. Helpful for treating Habits and AddictionsReferences

My Personal Opinion:
For the reasons that I have listed above this mala is the pride of my collection. Its beauty, compact size, and exquisite craftsmanship set this mala apart from the others within my collection. This mala is a pleasure to use! If you are looking for a mala that will last a life time I highly recommend Custom Mala Shop - you will not be disappointed!

Check out Custom Mala Shop at http://www.custommalashop.com/