What Are Mala Beads and How Do You Use Them?

What are Mala Beads?

So today I wanted to touch on a very special piece of jewelry that I frequently integrate into my yoga and meditation practice and was beyond excited to learn about during my yoga teacher training many years ago

A mala is a string of 108 beads (or a fraction of that number) with a focus bead (Guru bead) at the head. A mala can be worn as a necklace or wrapped around your wrist several times as a bracelet.

Mala Beads Meaning

Mala beads are not just accessories, though. Yes, they make beautiful necklaces & bracelets, but they are so much more than that! First and foremost, they are a tool used to count your mantras during meditation. They are also a wonderful way to wear your intention with you all day long as a constant reminder of the thing you are working towards in your life.

Mala Beads 108?


The number 108 has very significant meaning to Mala Prayer Beads

There are so many explanations out there for the mysterious number 108.


Here are a few of my personal favorite explanations as to why 108 is the standard:

9 & 12: The numbers 9 & 12 are considered by many to be very sacred numbers, and 9 x 12 = 108.


Earthly Desires: There are said to be 108 earthly desires in humans

The Heart Chakra: The chakras are intersections of energy lines and there are said to be 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra.

8 Extra Beads: 100 mantra recitations are counted as completed, while the remaining 8 are there to give room for errors & omissions. The 8 are also said to be an offering to God or Guru.

The Numbers Themselves: The numbers 1, 0, and 8 also have their own specific meanings.

1 for God or Higher Truth, 0 for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 for infinity or eternity.

So the number 108 that is usually associated with Mala beads and holds a deep significance in the Buddhist Mala Beads community


When I was taught about Male Prayer Beads it was associated with Japa Meditation or Mantra Meditation as it involves reciting a mantra during your practice.

My favorite Mala Bead Mantra’s include

“I honor the divinity within myself.”

This is a great mantra to help build self-confidence, reminding us that we are all made up of divine energy and should treat ourselves accordingly.


I use this affirmation daily to help me remember that even when I make mistakes or have negative thoughts, I will love myself through it all. If you allow love to move through you, you will be able to express that love more easily to others. Simply put, we all actually ARE love, so saying this mantra aloud each day will remind you of your true state of being and bring you peace in times of both triumph and adversity.


Most of us go through life limiting ourselves and not fully owning our potential. When you say these words to yourself, you become aware of your own power and will have a lot more confidence throughout the day to accomplish goals. Remember, you were created for a specific purpose, and the Universe is waiting for you to realize that and unleash your true power as a human being.


Just by saying this, it will automatically lift your energy levels and get you in a positive mindset to start the day. Everyone deserves an abundance of joy and love in their lives, but not everyone believes it. You must believe that you are deserving of positivity, love, and abundance in order to receive it. The Universe responds to your energy every second, so make sure you put out into the world what you would like to receive.


Rumi originally said this, and the meaning behind it still holds true. Essentially, it’s saying that you are not just a part of this universe, but you ARE the universe. You are not just a part of the ocean, you ARE the ocean. You are both a part and the whole at the same time. You have a significant role to play in this existence, and the whole Universe would be altered if not for your presence here on Earth. If you believe that, it will greatly help you along your path in life. You must believe you matter to believe you’re worthy of both love and happiness.


If you feel like you have taken the wrong turn in life, remember each sunrise gives you a chance to take the right turn. Each day you wake up holds endless opportunities for you to make your life the one you want to live. You can create the reality you want out of any circumstances, and if you can read this right now, you have the same chance as anyone else at manifesting the world that you want to see.




When you receive your mala, you will notice that there is a 109th bead at the head, usually called a Guru bead. This bead is not counted during your recitations, and should never be passed over during meditation. The Guru bead is said to harness all of the energy of your practice.

Start at the bead next to it (either side is fine) and begin your mantra. For every mantra repetition, you should hold the bead between your thumb and middle finger, gently spinning the bead as you recite your mantra.

Then simply move on to the next bead. Work your way around your mala in this fashion until you reach the Guru bead. You will have now recited your mantra 108 times. If you wish to continue, simply turn back in the opposite direction and repeat the process.

You will find that some malas come with spacer beads (usually after every 27th bead). These spacer beads are meant as an easy way to mark your place and re-focus your mind when it starts to wander.

Usually, these spacer beads are not counted as a mantra bead. It is a good idea to be sure though before you begin using your mala so that you know you are counting correctly.

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