Last week after yoga class someone asked me what the cotton bands around my wrist meant. Good question. We all seem to be sporting rainbow-coloured bracelets whether they're simple cotton strings tied in a knot like mine, right through to beautiful precious stone or beaded and bejewelled ones. So what could they mean?
It's thought that the tradition of tying cotton wrist strings began with Hinduism. I got my red and yellow ones while I was on my big trip to India, at a meditation and yoga centre in the Himalayas. As part of the traditional Hindu rituals called Pujas on the retreat, the priest would tie the strings around each person's wrist while chanting sacred prayers in Sanskrit to "seal" the blessing. You also see it in many other spiritual practices. In Buddhism, red cotton strings are worn to represent the union of body and soul; and in Kabbalah, fine red wool bands are protection and to ward off misfortune.
Beyond religious cotton tied strings, gemstones are widely known for their healing properties based on mineral content and colour. And colours themselves are thought to have vibrational energy, which is where the relationship with our chakras or energy centres comes in.
Do they "work"? Well, whenever I catch sight of mine, or touch them, I'm reminded of their spiritual significance, bringing me back to the peace and calm I experienced in India. They also make me feel connected to the group I was with, and I'll wear the bands until they fall off naturally as you're meant to. When they eventually do, I think I will feel a little sad, so I've made up my mind to treat myself to a new bracelet with meaning. The one I get might be style over spiritual, but it'll mean something to me. Here are the ones on my wish list:
Carolina Bucci Love Charm Bracelet, £550, www.astleyclarke.com/uk
The über grown-up luxe version of a friendship band, this is woven in 18 carat rose gold and red silk with a gorgeous gold heart charm that makes it all the more precious.