Even on the beautiful Gulf Coast, inner peace can sometimes be hard to come by. So Jessica DiLorenzo of Trikona Designs is helping Sarasotans center themselves through yoga, art and her handmade Malas—necklaces and bracelets that serve as talismans for empowerment and well-being.
DiLorenzo hand-makes her Mala necklaces and bracelets; all of the elements are meant to inspire the wearer in different ways. Gems such as rose quartz encourage self-love and acceptance, hematite is grounding, and labradorite is for intuition and magic. Everything DiLorenzo creates is meant to bring out the power that she believes already lives inside each one of us.
DiLorenzo is a busy woman. In addition to running Trikona Designs, she works with Any Given Child, an initiative started by the Kennedy Center that works to allow children, regardless of their socioeconomic background, to participate in the arts programs in their communities. DiLorenzo is an art integration specialist, working with four Title I schools and about 16 teachers a year.
“I am right in the classrooms,” DiLorenzo says. “I coach [kids] on how to use different art methods to teach math, science, and language arts. We use drama, dance and yoga.”
On top of that, she teaches yoga classes at Rosemary Court in downtown Sarasota. She strives to make her classes accessible for everyone.
She describes Mala beads as an embodiment of yoga practice.
“Part of yoga is the Asana practice, the physical practice,” DiLorenzo says. “But beyond that there is the meditation practice, the mantra practice, and the breath practice.”
She began making Mala beads so she could continue her meditation after her first rose quartz mala broke while she was working on a farm.
“I started to string my own Mala beads,” DiLorenzo explains. “It was fun, because I could make them any shape or color I wanted to using any stones or seeds I liked.”
DiLorenzo named her designs Trikona, after her favorite yoga pose. It means "triangle" in sanskrit.
“It symbolizes the balance of feminine and masculine energy and moon and sun energy,” she says. “I choose that name because it really spoke to me.”
She purchases the stones at local gem shows, and she imports the seed beads—Rudraksha or Tears of Shiva—from India.
Her friends complimented her work, so she began making them as gifts, and then started selling her Mala bead jewelry on Etsy.
Last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to spend more time on the meditation side of yoga.
“It was really trying,” DiLorenzo says of her diagnosis. “It took me out of my Asana practice. It really forced me to focus on the other aspects of yoga: meditation, mantra, and breath work.”
She is now healthy and back into physical yoga, but, while she was ill, she was able to grow in her meditative yoga and now helps others with their own mantras and inner practices. She's also founded a nonprofit, the Radiant Warrior Foundation, that aims to help women with breast cancer; included in the care package she sends is one of her handmade bracelets.
“Making these beads has really been a sacred practice for me. It has allowed me to to tap into other aspects of yoga," DiLorenzo explains. “Now, I can help people discover mantras for themselves.”
The Mala beads can serve as a fashion piece, but they can also be used to do deep relaxation yoga.
“Mala beads are actually used to practice a Japa mantra,” DiLorenzo says. “You come up with a mantra or affirmation that you repeat to yourself or out loud 108 times.” The beads are a constant reminder of the positive mantra.
DiLorenzo's creations are available for sale on her website. Prices vary from $35 to $100; DiLorenzo can also be commissioned to make custom Mala bead designs.
“I've been able to connect with a lot of people through yoga and making my jewelry,” DiLorenzo says. “Ultimately, it's a heart offering for me.”