About Malas


Malas are prayer beads used by various spiritual traditions for meditation. 108 beads are strung and hand knotted in between each bead. A central bead named the “Guru Bead” and a tassel are often added to malas.


108 beads – The number 108 is considered sacred in Buddhism and Hinduism. This number represents 108 energy lines that converge to form the heart chakra; 108 Hindu Goddess names; 54 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, each with a feminine and masculine side (Shakti and Shiva) and 54 times 2 equals 108. It is interesting to note that in Western astrology the 12 house and 9 planets also equal 108.

Marker Beads – Often marker beads are added to malas. Some are made with 26 beads plus a marker bead with a different mantra used on the marker bead and some are made with 27 beads plus a marker bead. The marker beads have either separate textures or a different diameter than the other beads, but in most instances they are counted in the 108 beads. When marker beads are crossed while meditating they are there to help us to stay focused, pause our thought or as gentle reminder to stay present.

Guru Bead – The center bead is said to represent the teachers we had along the way or to remind us of the teacher within.

Tassel – Made from silk, cotton or nylon represents enlightenment or oneness as all the strands are connected together, as a metaphor connecting all to the Divine. They are a symbol for prana and consciousness. Many current avant garde malas use a crystal or gemstone pendant or a keepsake dear to the wearer instead of a tassel.



Mantras – The mala beads are used to keep count of the mantras in Japa meditation. Recite your mantra on each bead, going around the entire mala until you get to 108 repetitions of that mantra. A separate mantra or a pause can be used when crossing over the marker beads.

Japa Meditation – From Sanskrit. Meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name, a practice found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The mantra or name may be spoken softly enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be spoken within the reciter’s mind.

Intentional Meditation: Repeating an intention you want to focus on or manifest, a positive affirmation, healing intention, or prayer.



Traditionally rudraksha seeds were used. Rudraksha beads are thought to help resolve problems by stabilizing our body and having a calming effect on our heart and senses. The Rudraksha seed exerts a right force around the heart that improves its performance, controls the heart beat and maintains the blood circulation. It is thought to prevent heart attacks and high blood pressure. Authentic rudraksha beads are difficult to find with many claiming to be the real thing but most being carved and dyed wood.

Through the ages, semi-precious gemstone beads were used for malas made for royalty, the wealthy, and metaphysically oriented spiritual seekers, both for their beauty and to utilize the healing qualities of the individual gemstones, as well as to enhance the vibration of the intentions or prayers of the seeker.

Gemstones can also be chosen to balance each of the 7 chakras as well as for their healing qualities



In addition to their traditional use during seated meditation for prayers and repetition of a mantra, Malas are often used as decorations and jewelry.

Malas are often used as decorations, jewelry, in addition to their traditional use during seated meditation for prayers and repetition of a mantra.

These beautiful pieces of wearable art often hold special significance for the wearer based on a memory, why they chose the stones, and the energy resonance they feel with the gemstone beads.


Chopra.com, Marion Jewels In Fiber, Nitya Malas, Traditional Vedic & Buddhist Texts, Tricycle.org, Wikipedia.