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Monday, January 12, 2015

Yoga for Kids: Mala Beads Tutorial

Yoga for Kids: Make Your Own Mala Beads!

Easy Tutorial for Kids Yoga Prayer Beads


DIY Kids Yoga Prayer Beads

I am so happy that my kids are excited about yoga. They love going to teacher-led yoga classes and "playing yoga" right at home. Since they've gotten particularly interested this year, I decided to make them their own Mala Beads as a special gift.



If you're not familiar with Mala Beads, they are a string of beads meant to help focus during periods of meditation and reflection. An individual can use them to repeat a positive affirmation, or mantra. They have roots in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, but there are many different interpretations of their usage, and not all are religious in nature.

Personally, I use Mala Beads as tool to remind myself to be present, mindful, and practice loving-kindness, and this is the usage I've passed onto my girls. While they love wearing them as pretty necklaces, they understand there is something about them that is more special than regular jewelry, I encourage them to take them out during times when they're feeling particularly stressed or anxious (and that often serves as a reminder to me to do the same!).

Kids Mala Beads Instructions


Kids Mala Beads Materials

 

Kids Mala Beads Materials

  • 108 Round Beads: (I used plastic beads since my girls are so little and, let's face it, there's a high percentage of them losing them).
  • 1 (larger than the others) Guru Bead: I picked pretty pink glass hearts :)
  • String: I used simple cotton thread from the craft store. The length is the tricky part. I ended up cutting about 150" to be on the safe side. I used pink for one girl, purple for the other. 
  • Bead Design Board: This is helpful for counting out your beads and setting a pattern, but it's not a necessity.
  • Beading Needle: Depending on the size of your beads/thread you may or may not need this.
  • Scissors

 Kids Mala Beads Process

Mala Beads for Kids

 

  • 1. Prepare Materials: Get your bead pattern ready (using the board or just your memory) and string your beading needle (if using). Leave about a 6" end on one side of your string and tie a knot to hold in the first bead.
     
Kids Mala Beads Materials

  • 2. String Beads and Tie Knots: This is basically the bulk of the work here. You'll string a bead and then tie a tight, solid knot in your thread to secure it. The tricky part is getting the knot really close to the bead--you really need to "scootch" it up there. I just ended up using my fingers to make the knots (I experimented with using a knotting tool, but with this kind of string, I didn't find it to be any more effective than my fingers). After you finish one, continue for the next 107 beads!

Easy DIY Mala Beads
  • 3. Guru Bead: Now's the time to add the Guru bead (see pics 1+2 of Final Steps)! You need to thread both ends of the string through this bead.
  • 4. Creating the Tassel: You can certainly purchase a pre-made tassel and use that, but I was trying to be economical, so I chose to make my own, and if you do the same, please be open to being a little creative ;). Here's what I did: (1) Cut three strands of string, about 6" each. (2) Start to make a knot to secure the guru bead, but don't tighten it yet. (3) String your three short threads through the guru bead knot, and then tighten the knot so it's nice and close to the bead. (4) To bring the tassel strings closer together: Cut a final thread--about 8" (to give yourself some extra slack). (5) Place this last string on a table and lie the "tassel" string on top (pics 5+6 below). Begin tying knots around the group of strings--I think I did about 4-5 rows. When you're happy with how it looks, line up all of your strings and trim so they are all the same length.

Make your own yoga beads

And that's really it! I also decided to adorn little cotton pouches (I had some leftover from another project--here's where I found them originally) with the girls' initials--a really simple process involving stamps and fabric and/or acrylic paint (see below).

Personalized Gift Pouches

I ended up giving them to the girls last year as Valentine's Day gifts (yea, this post was a long-time-coming), and I was so happy to be able to share with them another element of my love of yoga.

Kids Yoga Necklace

And if you're looking for a special Valentine's Day gift for your little ones, this is certainly one from the heart :)

Mala beads for kids

One last pic from my tolerant little models ;)

Yoga jewelry


Good luck making yours!

Namaste,

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