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What Are Mala Beads and How To Use Them

mala beads

Meditation is a way to collect one’s thoughts while expanding the mind at the same time. Although it doesn’t take many accessories or accompanying items to aid in the meditation, there are a few things you might want to have while meditating, such as a quiet place to sit and meditation gemstones. Another important item to have on hand to help with meditating is mala beads. 

The History of Mala Beads

mala beads

The mala has roots in Hinduism and Buddhism and appeared in India 3,000 years ago. The term mala means meditation garland in Sanskrit. The first mala beads were used in Japanese meditation but their use has since expanded greatly to other types of meditation. The purpose of the mala in all forms of meditation is to provide focus. 

The Purpose of Mala Beads

Mala beads are a string of beads used in meditation practice. The wearer uses mala beads to help with sitting in silence and providing a tactile guide to work through the meditation process. The beads can be worn as a necklace or bracelet and these can be worn solely for meditation purposes or any time the wearer chooses. The energy of the mala beads will be helpful to the wearer at all times.  

How Are Mala Beads Made?

The mala beads are constructed from various materials. Some of the materials include sandalwood, gemstones, and rudraksha seeds. Mala beads are carefully handmade to produce a unique product each and every time. Some sellers even have the mala beads blessed to provide them with an extra spiritual component.

What Are the Components of Mala Beads?

There are 108 beads in a string of mala plus one guru bead, called the sumeru. The mala is constructed with various features in addition to the mala beads including:



The tassel of the mala beads signifies a few different meanings. One meaning relates to the various strings of the tassel. As the individual tassel strings come together to form the complete tassel, this signifies a connection to each other as well as to the divine. The idea of oneness is readily apparent with the tassel. It also represents a connection to your highest truth.

In addition to the meaning above, the tassel can also be used for diffusing essential oils. When you put essential oils on the tassel, you can breathe in the delightful scent as you meditate.   

Guru BeadGuru Bead

The guru bead is part of the mala and is in addition to the 108 beads. The guru bead signifies one complete prayer round. This bead is said to be your teacher and holds your prayers and intentions.

You never want to go over the guru bead during meditation. If you are doing multiple rounds of prayer with your mala, when you complete the 108 beads, you turn the bracelet or necklace around and go in the opposite direction.  

Overhand KnottingOverhand Knotting

With a traditionally crafted mala, you’ll find overhand knotting. Overhand knotting is a knot placed between each bead on the mala. This knotting technique makes the mala stronger and provides the right amount of space between each bead. 

How to Use Mala Beads

buddhist monk with mala beads

Mala beads can be used in a few different ways. One way is to hold the mala beads in your right hand and hold the mala between your thumb and ring finger. Your second finger will then rotate each mala bead one at a time with each breath or mantra. Another way to use your mala beads is to hold the mala in your right hand, let the mala hang on your middle finger, and then use your thumb to rotate the mala, one bead at a time. You start the process at the guru bead and continue all the way around until you reach that bead once again.

Whichever method you use, make sure your index finger doesn’t touch the mala. The index finger represents ego which blocks self-realization, according to ancient Hinduism. 

Do You Need a Specific Type of Mala?

No, you don’t need a specific type of mala for use when meditating. You can choose from a wide array of bead types, such as sandalwood or gemstones, and select the color and material that works well for you. 

When you find a mala that you like, consider the beads and see what characteristics these items have with regard to meaning. For example, if you choose pink beads, this color represents the love for oneself and others, so your meditation can focus on these areas as well. If you like the chosen mala and what it represents, then it’s the perfect mala for you.   

Mala Beads Are Ideal Meditation Tools

If you are learning how to meditate, you’ll find that mala beads will help you every step of the way. The mala helps you keep track of your meditation process and gain focus. And with an eye-catching and relevant mala, the meditation experience will be even better. 

Find the perfect string of mala beads today and start working on honing your meditation skills with ease.