To gauge weight changes, waist beads are often used. Instead of stepping on a scale to gauge weight changes, you can use waist beads.
Waist beads don’t stretch. The beads will feel tighter or higher at the waist if you gain weight. If you lose weight, however, the beads will feel looser and lower to your hips.
Contrary to the scale numbers, waist beads are more compatible than body positivity. Waist beads can be worn by women of all shapes and sizes to enhance their bodies.
If you do not want the beads to adjust based on your weight, or other factors like bloating, there are adjustable waist beads.
The beads are associated with womenhood, maturity and growth in parts of the world that have waist beads as a cultural tradition.
In Ghana, babies are traditionally adorned with waist beads during their naming ceremonies. The beads are still worn by girls as they get older, but only the boys do so.
To signify their transition into womanhood, many mothers in West Africa tie a pair or waist beads to their daughters during their first period.
A woman may find that she is no longer able to wear a pair or waist beads. This could be a sign of a transition into a new phase of her life. For example, the beads that a girl wears in puberty may be different from those she wears after having her first child.
Intimacy and fertility
Women all over the globe use waist beads to enhance their sensuality. The fertility of the waist is also closely linked to these beads. When trying to conceive, some women may wear certain beads during sex.
Among the Ashante and Krobo cultures in Ghana, larger beads or bells are added to a woman’s waist beads once she’s fertile so she makes noise when she walks to alert potential suitors nearby.
Other cultures have waist beads that are worn under clothing so only the wearer and her chosen partner can see them. This is similar to special lingerie.
For pregnant women, special waist beads are also available. These beads are believed to protect the mother and her growing baby.
Heritage and pride
Women of all races and backgrounds wear waist beads. However, the accessory is unmistakably African in origin. Black women living in diaspora use waist beads to celebrate their cultural heritage and connect with their ancestors.
The West’s Black and Brown women use waist beads to show their diasporic heritage.
Due to the transatlantic slavery trade, many diaspora women don’t know their West African heritage. Black women can also regain the right to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors by claiming their waist beads. These beads serve as a physical reminder that heritage is not as far as you might think. It’s up to each individual to interpret it.
Waist beads can be used to help people become more aware and in control of their posture and stomach. The beads will fit differently depending on how you are sitting or breathing. These beads can be used to remind you to stand straight, engage your stomach muscles and relax your back while you breathe.
WAIST BEADS & MAGICIn Ghana and other parts of West Africa, women traditionally added charms and fragrant oils to lure suitors or protect themselves against negative energy. Many waist bead makers in America incorporate folk healing techniques such as crystals, chakra healing or intention setting into their designs.
Waist beads are unique and that is what makes them so special. You can wear as many strands as you wish, and for any reason. They are a powerful way to express yourself.
To measure yourself for waist beads, waist bead artist Anita from The Bee Stop first recommends deciding where you want your beads to sit on your body. Are you aiming to place your beads high up on your waist? Do you want them down at your hips or high? Just below your belly button
Once you have made your decision, wrap measuring tape or string around the area of your body to measure it. Mark the end of the string with a marker and measure the length using a ruler. Be careful not to wrap the tape or string too tightly around your body. You will find it tighter than you might expect.
Some waist beads can be worn for life. This means that the string is not flexible and the clasp can’t be removed or taken off. They are designed to stay on your body for as long as you want them to, or until they fall off completely.
Some waist beads can be adjusted or have extender chains. These are a great option for those who don’t want to change their waist beads. The beads are compatible.
There are many styles, colors and materials available. If you wish, your waist beads can be filled with symbolism. Each color and stone is associated with a specific meaning:
- Blue: Healing, harmony, insight and truth
- Brown = stability
- Green: prosperity, fertility, abundance, hope, healing
- Purple: Spirituality, wisdom and royalty
- Red: vitality, passion, bravery, confidence
- White: Light, Truth, Purity
- Yellow: Wisdom, clarity, awareness and energy.
Meanings of stone and charm
- Evil eye: protection against negativity
- Green aventurine: Luck, prosperity, and wealth
- Hamsa: Protection against bad luck or evil
- Lapis lazuli – Peace, wisdom, truth and insight
- Quartz: Clarity, amplifies other crystals
- Rose quartz: love, compassion, healing
Try to purchase your first pair of waist beads in person if you can. The artist will be able to measure you and ensure that the beads are exactly what you need.
There may be a beadist at an African market near your location. A vendor may be able to point you in the right direction if there isn’t.
There are many options if you don’t know where to find a waist artist or prefer ordering online.
Etsy is a platform that allows some sellers to sell, such as The Bee Stop and Bruja de La Cocina. Others have their own online stores, such as Alaiyo Waist beads and Waists by Wednesday.
Remember that custom orders are possible if there aren’t any premade waist beads available in your size.
Although waist beads might seem like an accessory, they can be transformative. A pair of beads wrapped around the waist can be a sensual and grounding experience. These beads are a reminder to be more mindful and compassionate towards one’s body.
My first pair of waist beads, for example, completely changed my relationship to my stomach. Prior to the beads, I was resentful of my stomach for growing in size. I felt beautiful, no matter how large or small my stomach was.
Others women find waist beads to be empowering in different ways. They can connect to their heritage, symbolize fertility, or help them gauge their weight.
Waist beads can be a very personal item. There are many ways to interpret them. This West African tradition is likely to continue to evolve as waist beads become more popular.