In This Article
Mala Beads — also known as prayer beads, affirmation and yoga beads, buddhist prayer beads, Japa Malas, or Buddhist monk beads — are necklaces that usually have 108 beads. Mala, in Sanskrit, means “garland.” They are ancient meditation tools meant to help focus the mind during spiritual practices, prayers, reflections, affirmations, or Japa meditation. Mala beads origin can be traced to ancient India, where they were used for spiritual practices in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Here’s what we know about mala beads meaning and how they can support you.
How Many Beads has a Mala? Mala Beads Numbers:
These wonderful meditation tools contain 108 counting beads plus one guru bead. They can also be strung as a half necklace containing 54 beads, or as a bracelet with 27 counting beads.
The guru bead is often larger than the other ones, and provides a starting and ending point for counting the repetitions of the mantras or affirmations. A tassel is connected to the end of the guru bead or meru bead to complete the mala with a final knot.
What are Mala Beads made from?
They can be made out of different sorts of materials. The most common types of materials used are semi-precious gemstones, wood, or seeds. In India, authentic Buddha beads are generally made from sandalwood and rudrakha seeds, while In Tibet and Nepal, from bodhi and lotus seeds.
Mala beads made using natural stones have become increasingly popular. Rose quartz, amethyst, tiger’s eye, and jade, are some of the most common stones used and it is believed that depending on the stone, the mala will have certain energetic properties.
A mala necklace usually has beads between 6mm and 10mm with 8mm being the most common. Larger beads are easier to count but make the mala heavier.
Malas beads from India usually have knots between each bead. In Tibet, Nepal and China are not knotted between the beads.
Mala Beads For Meditation
They have been used in mindfulness and spiritual practices and have become popular around the world, along with practices like yoga and spiritual work as well as mind-body healing. But they're more than contemporary necklaces or bracelets. They have a deep connection to mental grounding and opening your mind to spirituality.
We list the metaphysical and energetic properties of the gemstones as well as suggested mantras for each of our Malas. Check out our blog page to learn more about the power of these beautiful beads.
How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation?
A common way to use them is to track or count mantras in meditation. During your meditation practice, you would recite a single sound eg. “ohm”, affirmations, or a traditional Sanskrit mantra.
Start your meditation
- Choose a mantra: For example I am fearless, I choose hope over fear, I am successful, etc.
- Sit in a comfortable position, hold your mala: I usually take an easy cross-legged position.
- Take a few rounds of deep breaths, inhale and exhale. Relax your mind and body before you start.
- Start repeating your mantra with the aid of your mala beads or chanting beads.
- Hold the mala in your right hand and between the thumb and index finger.
- Start at the guru bead and use your thumb to move the mala one bead at a time
- Repeat or recite mantras in your head each time you move a mala bead
- After 108 repetitions, you will reach the guru bead.
- Inhale deeply, exhale, and open your eyes gently.
Imagine you repeating a positive affirmation every day 108 times before you start your day. What would you think will be the effect on your mindset and emotions?
- young woman meditating with mala beads -
Why are 108 beads on a Mala?
The number 108 has been a respected number for thousands of years, coveted by many spiritual traditions and assigned special significance in meditation and prayer. 108 is considered to be the most auspicious number of all.
- There are 108 steps in many Buddhist temples.
- In Buddhism, the number 108 is a sacred figure which represents the number of desires we must overcome to reach enlightenment.
- In Buddhism, 108 bells are rung during a New Year Day, as a reminder of 108 temptations we all need to overcome on our way to nirvana
- According to Ayurvedic medicine, there are 108 points in the human body, which are responsible for our general distribution of energy.
- In Hinduism figure 108 corresponds to the number of Hindu Creator God - Brahma
- When you split the number 108 into individual digits, 1 represents unity, 0 represents nothingness, and 8 is a symbol of infinity.
- When you multiply 9 planets in our Solar System by 12 astrological signs, the result is number 108.
Click in the image below to browse our Mala Beads
What are the Benefits of using Mala Beads?
- Using them can help you be intentional with your meditation practice and yoga work out.
- Malas are a great supplement to your journey to a higher self. Starting meditation or mindfulness early with a mala necklace can have a lasting impact on life.
- Help to Increase focus during mantra meditation and yoga practice. Meditation had shown to have a profound effects in stress reduction, inner peace etc.
- It's a Practical tool that helps to count the mantras.
- Once a mala is empowered it can be used for healing yourself and others.
- Choosing them can help you with the process of determining goals and intentions.
- It can also be used as a reward or symbol for accomplishing a difficult task.
How to use Mala Beads in everyday life?
You can wear it around your neck or wrap it around your wrist several times. Many people also wear it under their clothes, on their skin, and close to their hearts.
You can wear it all day long. Yet, you should take it off for washing or showering. This is because the thread becomes less durable when wet, and soap/perfume will make the beads brittle over time.
And of course, you can take your mala with you to your yoga practice - to focus and to charge your necklace with your positive energy. To do this, place the necklace on the floor next to the head of your mat. That way you always have it in sight and it doesn't interfere with your posture.
What Makes Mala Beads Special?
No matter which way of wearing you prefer, you will notice after a few days that a very special relationship develops between you and your mala.
Many people report that they are reluctant to take them off, or that they feel a special warmth when wearing them.
For this reason, Malas are also very personal objects. You should not give it to friends or other people to wear it - nor should you wear someone else's mala for a few days.
Tips for Using Mala Necklaces
One thing is for sure, they need to be treated with care, so here are some extra tips for using them during your meditation practice:
- Keep your mala beads in a special place when not in use such as a bag or box.
- Keep them clean - if they get dirty, soak them in pure water and use a gentle brush to scrub the beads then, leave them to dry completely.
- When learning to use them, it is a good idea to know how long it takes you to go through the 108 beads. This will help you in the future when trying to meditate.
- If you go through your 108 beads and want to do a second round, turn BACK when you get to the master bead and go in the opposite direction. I use my opposite hand as well to guide the beads to create balance in my body.
Mala Beads Color Meaning - Beads and their Meanings
A mala bead necklace can be chosen by color or by its crystals, stones, or minerals. Each color has its own meaning and the minerals that feature each color often have similar properties and benefits.
Considered a spiritual color. Purple is linked to the third eye chakra and can enhance your intuition during meditations.
- Amethyst Mala: Balance high energy, eliminate chaos, and support wisdom. Amethyst is often used during meditation to provide a sense of spiritual balance, healing, and enlightenment. Amethyst is associated with crown chakra.
Associated with peace, calm, and relaxation.
Lapis Lazuli Mala: Associated with strength and courage, royalty and wisdom, intellect and truth
Represents love, compassion, and connection.
Rose Quartz Mala: Assists those who are searching for resonance with the frequency of love and compassion. Helps release emotional patterns that hold one back.
Rhodonite Mala: Associated with unconditional love, healing, calm, hidden talents, and compassion.
Represents personal growth, opportunity, and prosperity. it’s connected to the heart chakra.
Jade Mala: Has a long history as a protective talisman, Jade buddha necklace meaning is associated with good luck and prosperity.
Agate Mala: Attracts abundance and increases self-esteem.
Associated with protection, success, and power.
Black Onyx Mala: Transforms negative energy, attracts good fortune, promotes good health.
Black Tourmaline Mala: Considered one of the most powerful amulet stones for protection. It has a strong purifying effect. It inspires self-confidence and a sense of personal power.
Lava Rock Mala: The earthy qualities of lava make it a stone of grounding, focus, balance, and fertility.
Represents courage, power, and productivity.
- Red Jasper Mala: Improves grounding, increases courage and self-esteem.
Carnelian Mala: Inspires love and devotion, balances the sex drive.
White and Transparent:
Signifies purity and peace. Associated with connection to the spiritual world and angels.
Howlite Stone Mala Beads: Howlite stone is associated with calm, awareness, focus, and emotional expression.
Clear Quartz Mala Beads : Encourages positivism, enhances self-awareness, improves energy.
Stands for stability, reliability, and warmth.
- Tiger Eye Mala: Protects and grounds. Increases confidence. Tiger eye mala beads meaning is to inspire one to accomplish goals.
- Wooden Mala: Provides stability and grounds mentally, physically, and spiritually.
- Rudraksha Mala: These traditional mala beads are made with rudraksha seeds. They shield against negative energies, cleanse the aura, and brings Happiness, and prosperity to the wearer.
If you wish to learn more about this beautiful relation please read or blog article: Mala Beads Meaning by Color
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to wear mala beads?
Yes, it is okay to wear mala beads. They are commonly worn by people of various spiritual practices as a reminder of their intentions or as a fashion accessory.
What is the significance of 108 mala beads?
The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern traditions and people believe that represents the wholeness of the universe.
There are as well other explanations for why 108 is significant, such as the number of energy lines in the body, the diameter of the sun, and the distance between the earth and the sun.
Why is 108 a holy number?
108 is considered holy because of its significance in various spiritual and cultural practices. It appears in many ancient texts and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and yoga.
Are mala beads only for Buddhists?
No, mala beads are used by people of different spiritual traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.
Buddha necklaces are also used as well by people who do not identify themselves with any religion in particular.
What happens when mala beads break?
When a mala bead breaks, it is believed to signify the completion of a cycle or the fulfillment of a wish.
Some people also believe that it is a sign that the mala has absorbed negative energy and needs to be replaced or cleansed with pure light.
What is the 21 bead mala bracelet meaning?
A 21 bead mala bracelet, also known as a wrist mala, typically uses crystal mala beads and serves as a condensed version of a traditional 108-bead mala. The meaning of a 21-bead mala bracelet can vary, but it's often used as a portable and convenient tool for meditation and mindfulness. It's sometimes called "worry beads" because it can be used to soothe stress and anxiety through repetitive, calming movements. The mala pattern or arrangement of beads may also hold specific spiritual, depending on the tradition or intention of the wearer.
Mala beads aren't for seasoned yogis or people who want to go deep in their spiritual practices. Anyone can use them as tools to start practicing meditation or can be worn as a necklace, or wrapped around your wrist several times.
The more you use them, the stronger the bond between you and your mala beads. If you have set it with your intentions the mala will become a powerful element infused with your energy.
Remember, a mala beads necklace doesn’t need to include expensive materials to work well for you. choose one that feels right to you.
Wrist Malas, or a mala bracelet, is a great alternative to the long ones. They are easy to wear, are beautiful, and you can use them for practice or as a reminder no matter where you are.
Here at our shop, we are always seeking out new gemstones and creating new yoga jewelry designs. Below are our most recent creations.
Click Here To Check Out Our Mala Necklaces and mala bracelets Collection ➤
What's your experience with meditation tools? Do you use meditation mala beads? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Additional Mandala Beads Resources: