top of page

Mala Beads


Touch your inner space, which is nothingness,
as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky.

Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior.

Then whatever you do has grace in it. Whatever you do is a poetry in itself.


You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.

Mala Beads or Mala Prayer necklaces, also known as Buddhist beads, were traditionally used in prayer and meditation. Long ago, they were created with various types of natural materials, from sandalwood to lava stone, tree seeds to gem stones. The mala beads are believed to provide spiritual healing. And they're also believed to bring certain qualities out from the wearers’ character, such as strength, calmness, happiness, clarity, 

Malas are often used as decorations, jewelry, or during seated meditation. You may see malas adorning the wrists, necks, and altars of meditation devotees and at the top of mats of yoga practitioners. These beautiful necklaces often hold special significance for the bearer based on where they got it, why they chose the stones, and the energy resonance they feel with the beads.

The history of prayer beads is vast and it's believed to have originated in India back in the 8th century B.C.E.  This is also why mala prayer beads are also known as Buddhist beads or Buddhist prayer beads. As time went on, many other religions started using prayer beads within their religious practices and mala prayer beads became common in China, Korea, Tibet, and Japan.


Eventually, prayer beads extended into Europe during the late Middle Age in the form of Catholic rosaries. Today, more than two-thirds of the world use some kind of prayer bead, whether a string of Buddhist beads, a Rosary, a Subha, mala or something else. There is a long history of beads being used to connect with the world on a spiritual level.  

Om Mani Padme Om.jpeg
Mala Beads 1.jpg
Mala Beads 4.jpg

Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity. This sādhanā (practice) is known in Sanskrit as japa. Malas are typically made with 18, 27, 54 or 108 beads.

In Tibetan Buddhism, malas of 108 beads are used. Some practitioners use malas of 21 or 28 beads for doing prostrations. In Tibetan Buddhism, malas are mainly used to count mantras. These mantras can be recited for different purposes linked to working with mind. The material used to make the beads can vary according to the purpose of the mantras used.

When using your mala beads in meditation and chanting your mantra, some have said you are complete once you have done it 100 times. The 8 extra beads are to account for errors. Or even more beautiful, are meant to be an offering to your guru.


Some beads can be used for all purposes and all kinds of mantras. These beads can be made from the wood of Ficus religiosa(bo or bodhi tree), or from "bodhi seeds", which come from rudraksha.

A common way to use the mala is to track a “japa,” or mantra meditation. The repetitive recitation of a single sound, such as “om,” a few words, such as “om mani padme hum,” or a longer mantra, such as the Gayatri Mantra, can be calming and transformative.


Whether you’re chanting out loud, whispering, or repeating a phrase silently, tracing the beads of the mala with your fingers can help you keep track of the japa. “Japa” translates to “muttering” in Sanskrit.

Similar to praying with rosary beads, meditating with a japa mala has been shown to help slow respiration and encourage well-being. Repeating the mantra of your choosing redirects the mind from daily obsessions and introduces positive thought patterns. Similar devices have been used for generations in a variety of spiritual traditions including:

  • Hinduism

  • Buddhism

  • Jainism

  • Sikhism

  • Christianity

  • Islam

Meditation positively affects the brain and mood and practitioners report feeling relaxed, having better focused attention, and enhanced self-awareness. 

 Your Pranayama Practice
Bring more intention and concentration to your pranayama practice by using the beads as cues for breathing:

  • Find a comfortable seat.

  • Hold the mala in one hand and let it dangle easily.

  • Touch the guru bead with your opposite hand.

  • As you move your fingers to the next bead, breathe in and breathe out.

  • Each bead gets its own inhale and exhale.

  • Continue until you feel the guru bead again.

Practice Japa Mantra Meditation
Try practicing a japa mantra meditation, setting an intention and allowing the beads to be a grounding element as you follow them while reciting your words:

  • Find a comfortable seat.

  • Choose a mantra that speaks to you. 

  • Hold the mala in one hand and let it dangle easily.

  • Touch the guru bead with your opposite hand.

As you move your fingers to the next bead, repeat your mantra out loud, as a whisper, or silently in your mind.
Continue until you feel the guru bead again.

Say a closing prayer of Gratitude.  


Mala Beads 5.jpg
bottom of page