(Questions and Answers are from Bhavani’s workshop “A Simple How-To and Who's Who Introduction to Sanskrit Mantra” at the Feb 2012 Annual Yoga Hub Virtual Conference.)
Question: Can you repeat how to use your fingers on the mala?
Answer: Thanks so much for your question. To use a mala for your mantra practice, rest the mala on a circle made by joining the ring finger and thumb of your right hand. Have the meru or guru bead (the one with the tassel) at the top and start with the bead to the left of the meru bead for the first repetition. Move that bead clockwise (toward you) with your middle finger as you say the mantra and continue around the mala. When you are back at the meru bead, you've done your 108 repetitions. If you want to do more than one mala's-worth in repetitions, you would then turn the mala around and repeat the process, so that you never cross the guru bead. The classic practice to install a mantra into your system is to do one mala in the morning and one in the evening for 40 consecutive days. That means of course that if you miss a session, you start the 40 days over. I'm so glad you were with me for the session. Enjoy your practice of mantra.