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.
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 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 Bead Options
Measurements: 29” in diameter
Weight: 2.4 oz.
Features: Natural gemstones
This is a high-quality Buddha bead set. Available in four different stones, these Mala beads are very versatile. It is made of high quality gemstones and lava rock. Mix a drop of essential oil, we like to use lavender, in water and soak the beads to give a soothing scent. This will add yet another level to these buddhist beads. The green Aventurine is said to have properties that make you more in tune with the universe. It also helps with making your Heart Chakra more calm.
This is Mala bead set includes seven different stones.. It is designed for either a bracelet or a necklace. You can wrap it four times for a 6 inch wrist and can adjust it for how big your wrist is. Each stone signifies a unique energy and affects the body differently. The whole piece exudes an energy that will allow you to meditate effectively.
This bracelet is truly a stunning piece. With an interchangeable charm, this can be worn for everyday use and used as needed. Style as a necklace or bracelet for an individualized look.This unique handmade Mala beads use wooden beads for a look that can easily suite both men and women. Use as a focusing tool on your next meditation and watch as you slip into a deep state of peace. Channeling nature this bracelet will help you get a more raw and natural perspective.
The Yosoo Buddha Prayer set will surprise you. Made of semi-precious stones it will invoke a different feeling each time you look at it. This is on our list because of the unique look. Each bracelet will be slightly different because of the stone’s color. The smooth texture doesn’t allow you to be distracted by grasping the beads while you are meditating. This is one of the shorter Mala bead sets on our list so it will fit smaller wrists.
These gorgeous aquamarine beads represent love and compassion. These powerful beads are also said to increase wisdom and psychic powers. This water gem encourages peace, healing and balance. Meditating with this ruler of the moon is used for the throat chakra. This love stone is an excellent way to get in touch with inner peace and repair communication blocks in your life. A truly magical piece, prepare to have a deep and exploratory meditation that will restore your faith.
Meditating with buddha beads is a powerful way to increase the quality of your meditation. When you are faced with a cluttered or unfocused mind these beads prove even more helpful to help distract and free your thoughts.
Focusing on counting these beads while channeling their natural healing powers will help focus and deepen your meditation.
Our favorite from the list is the 8mm Aquamarine Handmade Prayer Beads. These beads are both aesthetically pleasing and do a lot for encouraging wisdom, love and balance in our life.
Lastly, mala beads are just one way to improve your meditation practice. For way more info, see our monster list of meditation tools.