What is a mala and how to use it

What is a mala & how to use it


A mala is a strand of beads (traditionally 108, or a fraction thereof) used for keeping count during meditation. Mala beads have been in use for thousands of years, with the earliest examples dating back to the 8th century B.C.

A mala can be used for meditation only, or worn as a necklace, or wrapped around your wrist several times.

Most importantly, it is a tool focusing our awareness & concentration during your spiritual practice, meditation, prayer or reflection. Also, if you wear your mala throughout the day, it serves as a constant reminder of your intentions.

With use, particularly if you have set it with your intention, the mala becomes infused with your personal energy. The more you meditate & use your mala, the stronger the bond will become between you & your beads.

Wrist malas, or bracelets, are a great alternative to long malas. They are easy to wear, are beautiful & you can use them for practice or as a reminder no matter where you are.


There is no right or wrong way to pick a mala. If you are initially drawn to it, it might be the one that’s meant for you. Or you can choose a mala that will serve a specific purpose important to you at the time.

More often than not, these beautiful necklaces and bracelets hold special significance based on where you got them, why you chose the stones & the energy resonance with the beads.

Different stones & beads all have different meanings & specific energetic properties, so you will always find the mala that is perfect for your current needs & goals.

Treat your mala gently and with respect. Keep it close throughout the day – it will help you to stay calm & positive & to remember your intentions every time you touch it.


Using a mala is simple, easy & powerful. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Clarify the intention of your practice & choose your intention or affirmation. In some traditions, a mantra  is given to you.
  2. Find a quiet space & sit in a comfortable position with back support, if you’re new to meditation, with your eyes closed. I would recommend NOT to lie down (or you may fall asleep).
  3. Take a few deep breaths to center & observe the speed & depth of your natural breath. Don’t control it, just follow it several cycles.
  4. Bring your focus & attention onto your mantra/intention or affirmation.
  5. Start with the bead next to the Guru bead. The Guru bead, that is bigger & represents “one’s teacher,” is the 109th bead at the bottom of the mala. Some malas may have a pendant or stone instead of a Guru bead. Hang the first mala bead gently on the middle or ring finger of your hand. Place your thumb on the Guru bead & use it to count each smaller bead, pulling it with the thumb towards you as you count, or repeat your mantra. The Guru bead eventually becomes the last bead of your meditation.
  6. Holding the Guru bead, repeat your mantra & use the moment to set your intention. If you want to continue, instead of passing over the Guru bead, simply reverse direction & begin again.

If you have not yet invested in a quality traditional mala, you can use a half mala (54 beads) or a wrist mala or bracelet with large beads, in the same way as a 108 bead mala. It should be what feels good to you.

When reciting a mantra, use any affirmation you feel is important to you at the moment. You say affirmations out loud, in a whisper, or silently, visualizing & holding your intention while reciting.

Reciting a mantra takes your mind away from your daily life & establishes positive thought patterns. Repeating a single sound, word, or phrase focuses your attention & is scientifically proven to calm the mind.

If you’re looking for your own personal mala, take a look at the selection below or if you’d like to have one custom made with specific beads or other specific traits, please visit my custom request page to request one to be made JUST FOR YOU!