What Are Mala Beads?

As the practice of eastern meditation techniques become more common in western societies, the tools used to enhance your meditation experience and bring you closer to your spiritual awakening have also journeyed to the west. One example of these tools are mala beads.

With deep roots in the ancient practices of Hinduism and Buddhism, mala beads, also known as yoga beads, are intended to help you focus your mind and better immerse yourself into a state of peace and meditation. In exploring spiritual and mindful practices, mala beads can intensify your experience.  

Being far more than just a unique and eye-catching piece of jewellery, the rich beliefs and history surrounding the mala beads will truly help you on your pursuit of inner peace. Let us delve deeper into the beauty of the spiritual alignment that the mala beads possess and can transfer to you.

The Origin of Mala Beads

First created more than 3000 years ago, mala beads found its place in the spiritual practices of high gurus and yogis. It was used to maintain their keen focus during meditation in a special form of practice known as japa which means ‘to recite’.

This ancient practice of counting beads has found its place in multiple religions including being used as prayer beads in Islam and Catholicism, with both belief systems making use of routine prayer recitation while counting on the Misbaha or Rosery respectively. With the repetition of a particular prayer or mantra, your focus becomes greatly attuned and aligned with your spiritual goals and helps you maintain a focus on your meditation.

Mala, which is the Sanskrit word for ‘garland’, is made of 108 beads, with one additional large bead grounding the garland at the centre called the Sumeru, or the guru. It is through this central guru bead that you can establish gratitude and a sense of thankfulness to your higher power.

The number 108 is a representation of ‘Om’, which places you in higher spiritual elevation during your time of meditation.

As a continuous circle, the garland symbolises ending where you have started, and beginning once again. Repeating your daily mantra while using the mala beads will increase your focus and concentration and benefit your spirituality greatly as you remove distractions from your space.

What Are Mala Beads Made Of?

Mala beads can be made from a variety of different materials such as wood, precious stones, seeds, bones, sandalwood, or different types of precious metals. There is a natural inclination to have the mala beads strung with natural fibres such as animal hair, silk, or cotton, thus further enhancing your closeness with the life source of nature.  

The garland is usually finished with a tassel made of silk or cotton which, while not only eye catching, also provides you with a connection to the spirit realm. In your ever-flowing mantra, you can also use the tassel to diffuse an essential oil that you find helps draw you closer to your meditation and your mantra.

Over the years, each religion or belief system has shown a greater attraction to a certain type of material to make their mala beads.

Choosing and Activating Your Mala Beads

Choosing your mala beads goes much deeper than finding what you are attracted to in terms of physical features and using the mala beads that look prettiest. First, you need to establish the purpose for your mala beads.

While some use the beads for greater focus and connection to the higher power, others may use it to find guidance and peace. Selecting the perfect mala beads for yourself is an extremely personal task and you need to identify what you are drawn to, what are you hoping to achieve, what is your mantra, and what it is that you want to manifest.

There are many ways to activate your Mala beads that can be recommended to you by your spiritual guide. You can repeat a mantra three times while sitting in silence for five minutes to activate the connection and bond between yourself and your mala beads.

How to Use Your Mala Beads

Once you have assumed your meditation position, hold your mala beads in one hand, usually the right hand, with the beads draped over your middle finger. Starting with the first bead next to the guru bead, use your thumb to count through each bead, pulling them forward one by one.

It is important to know that your index finger, which most strongly represents your ego, does not touch the mala beads. In your journey towards enlightenment, you become more selfless, and any interference from the self can cause a disruption and obstacle in experiencing your higher spiritual power.


Whether you are on your way to spiritual enlightenment, whether you are hoping to manifest something new within your life, whether you are finding your mantra, or whether you are hoping to find the precision and focus of a guru, mala beads are guaranteed to help you on your way to achieving higher levels in your meditation.