DIY Gifts #2: Mala Bracelet \\\ Cadeau-Maison #2: Bracelet Mala

(Version en français plus bas!)

Mala beads are really pretty and such helpful tools when working with mantras in your yoga practice or meditation routine. The only thing is that they are really expensive! However, the other day, at the art supplies store, I stumbled upon really beautiful marble beads. I fell in love with them, and they were in my price range at 10$ for 12 beads, so I bought two strands. Well, I made a really fun and nice looking mala bracelet with them, and I think these would make a really thoughtful gift for any yogi in your life.

mala_beads

The process is fairly simple and does not require a lot of material. Plus, you can really personalize this to fit with your personal preferences and what you find in your area. The possibilities are endless!

mala_beads2

I kept this mala quite simple, but of course, you can find charms or tassels to  add to it to give it a different look. I made mine into a bracelet so that it would be more portable and cheaper, but you could also go full pledge and work on a 108-bead mala.

mala_beads3

Here is what you need:

  • 21 beads of your choice
  • solid thread that fits your beads (I used some bamboo cord, but hemp cord is also very strong)
  • A candle
  • scissors

Here is what you do:

  1. Cut the tip of the cord diagonally so that it is easy to thread the beads. Don’t cut the thread out (this means you don’t need to measure anything and you’ll be sure to have enough thread for your entire bracelet).
  2. Thread 18  beads and tie a knot after the last bead, leaving a 10cm tail.
  3. Tie a knot between each bead as close to the bead as possible. You can use a needle or a skewer to help you set the knot where you want it to be. Here is a helpful video.
  4. Cut the thread 10cm after the last knot.
  5. Pass both tails through 1 bead and tie several knots after this one: it is your marker.
  6. Thread one bead on each tail and tie knots after these. Cut the threads close.
  7. Lit your candle until there is a nice pool of wax. Blow it off and dip the two knots in the wax two or three times until they are well coated. This will help solidify your knots and prevent them from getting untied. That’s it! You’re done!

mala_beads4

I hope these instructions are clear, but I think looking at the pictures will help you a lot! Also, feel free to personalize the end of your mala to your liking. Placed in a pretty box, this bracelet will make the perfect gift and takes no more than 30 minutes to put together! Another perfect solution for last minute Santas.


Les bracelets mala ou les chapelets sont vraiment jolis, mais sont aussi des outils de pratique très utile pour le yoga ou la méditation. Le hic, c’est qu’ils sont souvent très chers ou très kitsch! C’est pour ça que lorsque je suis tombée sur des jolies perles en marbre à 12 pour 10$, je me suis dit, pourquoi pas! Une fois enfilées, elles forment un très joli mala, qui sera parfait à offrir pour le yogi de votre vie.

mala_beads

Il est assez simple de faire un mala, et cela ne nécessite pas beaucoup de materiel. En plus, il est aussi facile de les personaliser selon vos envies ou vos préférences. Les possibilités sont infinies!

mala_beads2

J’ai gardé ce mala assez simple, mais il est bien sur possible d’ajouter des breloques ou des perles spéciales. J’ai également travaillé avec 21 perles pour faire un bracelet et un mala plus facilement portable, mais vous pouvez voir grand et en faire un à 108 perles.

mala_beads3

Voici ce dont vous aurez besoin:

  • 21 perles de votre choix
  • une corde ou du fil solide qui est à la bonne taille pour vos perles (j’ai utilisé de la carde de bambou, mais la corde de chanvre est aussi très résistante)
  • Une bougie
  • Des ciseaux

Voici ce qu’il faut faire:

  1. Couper le  bout de la corde en biseau pour faciliter le passage des perles. Ne coupez pas la corde de la bobine (cela vous permettra de ne pas avoir à mesurer quoi que ce soit et de ne pas manquer de corde).
  2. Enfiler 18 perles et faire un noeud aprés la dernière perle enfilée en laissant 10 cm après le noeud.
  3. Faire un noeud entre chaque perle le plus près possible de chaque perle à l’aide d’une aiguille ou d’un cure-dent. Voici un video qui peut vous donner un coup de main.
  4. Couper la corde 10 cm après le dernier noeud.
  5. Passer les deux bout de corde dans une perle et faire une série de noeud après cette perle. Ce sera votre marqueur.
  6. Passer une perle dans chaque bout the corde et faire des noeuds après celles-ci. Couper la corde après ces noeuds.
  7. Allumez votre bougie et laissez-la brûler jusqu’à ce que vous ayez de la cire fondue. Éteindre la bougie et tremper les noeuds finaux dans la cire pour les “bloquer” et les empêcher de se defaire. Voilà! C’est fini!

mala_beads4

J’espère que ces instructions sont claires, mais je pense que les photos peuvent vous aider un peu. N’hésitez pas à personaliser votre mala pour qu’il soit unique et à votre goût! Placé dans une jolie boîte, je pense que ce mala fera un très beau cadeau qui ne vous aura pas pris plus de 30 minutes à fabriquer! Encore un cadeau parfait pour les Pères Noël retardataires!

I’m a mindfulness instructor!

I feel like I have reached a new level in “hippie-land”!

Joke aside, I have completed my 12 weeks training with Mindful Schools to be a mindfulness instructor this week. How exciting! As an end of training celebration, I’m sharing some thoughts on how this happened.

IMG_2869

Flashback to the beginning of the year: This year, I have been assigned with six groups of 30 to 38 students. I know most of them as I taught them last year too, and I know that many of them have a great potential that is hindered by their anxiety, stress, or strong feelings/emotions.  This is my problem because it makes it difficult for students to learn when their minds are busy processing all kinds of thoughts. It is also a personal problem because teaching is hard! You are dealing with so much more than the curriculum: student meltdowns, administrators, parents, and taking all this personal stress at home because you care for the kids in front of you. Add this to regular-human-being stress, and you are pushed off balance on a daily basis. So, this beginning of the year is hard, and I feel resource-less.

Meeting with Charity Bryant: At a teacher conference, I get to meet Charity Bryant who is a mindfulness instructor who started out as an English teacher. Her presentation is inspiring, and I feel like she is describing my students when she tells us about her own students and experience bringing mindfulness in the classroom. I need to know more so I write to her ,and she tells me about the online training given by Mindful Schools.

Training with Mindful Schools: I start with the six weeks mindfulness fundamentals and follow through with the mindful educator course. I feel very lucky to have received a scholarship because this training is very complete and thorough, but would have been inaccessible to me as I’m paying it on my own.   Not only does this training help my students, it also helps me face difficulties and deal with my emotions better. Things are still hard sometimes, but I feel like I have a better tool set to face them.

Introducting mindfulness at school: To give me courage, I start offering a mindfulness workshop once every two weeks for interested students. As the meetings go by, I gather experience and confidence with this ideal group. I then introduce mindfulness as a daily routine to my different groups. I am amazed by the curiosity and willingness to try that my students are showing. Most importantly, I feel that my most difficult, disturbing students are responding to this very positively. I also welcome their suspicious as to this “voodoo stuff” and discuss research and brain functioning with them. I really like how it creates an open, ready-to-learn environment where the students are taking time to slow down and connect before starting to work. Is it time lost? Not really. Since they are relaxed and available, I don’t need to bring them back to the activities as much, instructions and modelling take less time because their attention is there, and I can tap in to their new capacity to pay attention with a shared and understood vocabulary.

The results of implementing mindfulness in my classroom might sound magical and untrue. And yet, they are real. My students are still teenagers, but somehow, they are more focused, calmer and more available to learning, to their peers and to my interventions. I really love our 15 minutes of practice each class because it gives me a chance to teach them something out of the curriculum that is precious and truly helpful. I am really glad to have done this! Let me know what you think!

 

 

Meditation Prop: Small Bench

After completing my yoga prop cabinet, my boyfriend set out to make me a meditation bench. How exciting!

IMG_2777.JPG

This is really comfortable: it helps me keep my back straight while giving me support for the legs. Since I don’t sit with my legs crossed it is also easier on the knees, and it make it possible to sit for a long period of time. I have a really hard time staying cross-legged for more than a few minutes even when sitting on a pillow, so this is perfect.

IMG_2780

I really like how the wood has different colors and how sturdy this is. It is also really fun because my boyfriend made it at the perfect height for my legs, which means that it is unique and adapted to my body and posture.

IMG_2781

I really love working with this small bench! It makes practice feel even more special by creating a small ritual: I know that when I sit on this it is to be mindful and to give myself some time. Let us know what you think, and if you’d be interested in having one!