▷ How to Choose Mala Beads (2020 Update)

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How to Choose Mala Beads

Written by Myles Nystrom and updated on January 4, 2017
meditation beads

The term mala comes from a Sanskrit word that means ‘meditation garland’. A mala is a string of beads that can be used when meditating. It is traditionally used to count breaths or mantras while meditating.

Mala Beads

Best For...



Creative people

Calming Anxiety


Spiritual Enlightenment


What is a Mala?

A mala usually consists of 108 beads. The reasons given for the number of beads used are different. Hindus draw on the cosmic significance of the number and Buddhists use the same number of beads but focus on the number of passions being eliminated.

The beads are made from many different materials. Sandalwood, authentic gemstones and Rudraksha seeds are most commonly used. A mala with knotting between each bead makes it stronger.

The guru bead, often the 109th bead, is believed to represent the relationship between guru and student. A tassel of cotton hangs from the below the guru.

How do I choose meditation beads?

It’s often the first necklace you feel drawn to that’s meant for you. Allow yourself to be lead by your heart in your selection. A question to ask yourself is what you want to manifest. Do you want to cultivate more love in your life? Do you want to have more strength? Do you want to develop more intuition?

Certain precious stones and colors have meanings that may be significant to a wearer and can help to achieve their specific purpose when it comes to meditation or life. 

What do the mala beads mean by stone?

An understanding of the meaning of the stone used in a mala can help you to find the right one. For instance, if you are going through a period of transition and you need balance in your life, Jasper will protect you from negativity and nurture you. If you need healing and protection, turquoise is a healing stone that gives protection and promotes purification.

Lemon quartz is a good stone for people in creative fields like graphic design or writing and helps them to experiment, take risks and be more optimistic. A blue opal is a stone that helps you speak your truth with confidence and without hurting the feelings of others.  

What do the mala beads mean by color?

The color of a mala necklace can play a big part in its overall meaning. A fiery red stone will channel energies like physical energy, sexual energy, survival, independence, passion, and love.  

Orange beads are similar to red ones in terms of healing energy but the energy is more grounding than electrifying.

Green beads can channel harmony, love growth, prosperity and balance. They also promote emotional stability, romance, and inner peace.

Blue beads inspire loyalty and promote peace, and truth.  They also help with self-expression and communication.

Modern uses of mala beads

Mala beads may even be worn as fashion accessories today with wearers having no particular religious affiliation. They simply appreciate the meanings of the stones and their colors. Meditation practitioners, no matter what their religious affiliations, often use mala beads as part of the practice.

They are used to balance chakras, provide anchoring, count mantras, and help to count breaths and much more. They are even used by some people as worry beads to help with anxiety.

How to meditate with mala beads

Mala beads have been used for centuries to help those who practice meditation to keep their minds focused. They were first created in India thousands of years ago and were used for Japa meditation. The word Japa means ‘to recite’. Mantras were recited and the beads helped with counting.

As a practitioner advances through each bead, the mantra or chant is recited but this is not a requirement. The act of moving the beads through the fingers has a calming effect on its own.

The bead is held between the thumb and the forefinger and the thumb is used to move the bead forward. Beads must never touch the middle finger as this is a sign of disrespect. The beads are counted one by one from that point until the guru bead is reached. Traditionally, the practitioner does not cross the guru bead but reverses direction instead.

Mala Beads

Best For...



Creative people

Calming Anxiety


Spiritual Enlightenment


Mala beads for men 

A Meru Beads necklace made of obsidian gemstones can be worn as a necklace or wrapped around the wrist. The necklace is carefully packed in a cotton carry bag. Obsidian promotes courage, grounding, helps to protect against depression and block negativity. It symbolizes resilience and self-control.

Mala beads for women 

The Top Plaza 7 Chakra bracelet is crafted with lava rock stones which are believed to unlock the chakras of your health and mind. When a healthy mind and a sound body meditates, it leads to the path of universal wisdom and health. The energy inside your body is directed towards creating a connection with soul and mind. It is best for women who want optimum physical and mental health.

Mala beads for creatives

Rose quartz may be thought of as a love stone but it stimulates creativity. It has the type of energy that encourages great ideas to flow. Try a Rose Quartz 8 mm Jap Mala with 108 Beads or a handcrafted Tibetan Rose Quartz japa mala made from glass beads that comes with a beautiful silk brocade pouch.

Mala beads for anxiety

High levels of anxiety usually mean that you need to ground yourself and stones like moonstone can help you to feel more emotionally balanced and centred. 

A stone like smoky quartz can help to release anxiety. The Art of Cure has a mala necklace of smokey quartz that will fortify the nerves, relieve headaches, release muscular tension and bring serenity and calmness.

Mala beads for entrepreneurs

Citrine is a wonderful stone for business owners. It gives inspiration and increases energy and drive. Buy Citrine mala beads on a knotted string by Sacred Woods and support local craftsmen in India.

Mala beads for spiritual enlightenment

These seeds are currently the most sought after of all seeds. These dark speckled seeds have special meaning for those seeking divine wisdom and the large size of the seeds can be satisfying when counting.

Mala beads with healing power

Meditation will make you calm, balanced and more positive. Mala beads can contribute to the healing power of meditation. Amethyst has protective, cleansing and calming powers. It can help to ease a headache or stress. It can also help to overcome addictions and balances the skin, lungs, and digestion. It also enhances spiritual awareness.

Other Recommended Mala Bead Options

Other Mala