Mala beads are a string of beads used to count 108 repetitions. The guru bead provides a starting and ending point on the mala for counting the repetitions.
Mala beads are an ancient tool that was developed to keep the mind focused on the practice of meditation.
Mala beads have been used for centuries are seen in other cultures and religions and are also known as prayer beads, rosary beads and worry beads.
Traditionally there are 108 beads, but you can have 27 or 54 for smaller bracelets and necklaces.
Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.
Chakras - When it comes to Chakras, It has been said there there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart, with one of them believed to be the path to self realisation.
Many choose to recite their mantra in sanskrit, the ancient script of India. Within the Saksrit alphabet there are 54 letters. Each letter has a feminine and masculine version — totalling 108.
Mantras - When using your mala beads in meditation and chanting your mantra, some have said you are complete once you have done it 100 times.
The 8 extra beads are to account for errors. Or even more beautiful, are meant to be an offering to your guru.
How To Use Your Mala During Meditation
1. Clarify the intention of your practice and choose your mantra or affirmation
2. Find a comfortable space and sit quietly.
3. Close your eyes and spend a few moments observing your breath.
4. Begin to breathe deeply and bring your focus and attention onto your mantra or affirmation.
5. Hang the first mala bead gently on the middle or ring finger of your hand.
6. Place your thumb on the guru bead and begin reciting your mantra.
7. At the end of the mantra push the mala bead away with your thumb and move onto the next bead for another round.
8. Continue until you reach a count on 7, 21, 27, or 108.
If you wish to do another round of mantras or affirmations, do not skip over the guru bead. Instead, turn the mala around and move in the opposite direction.