Mala Beads: What They Are and How to Use Them

Over the Christmas holidays, I went with my mum and sister to get a Vedic astrology reading. Having never done something like this before, I had no idea what to expect, but when we entered the Tibetan imports shop where the readings were done, my eyes were instantly drawn to the beautiful beads hanging all around the room.

In strands that looked like necklaces, there were beads of every colour hanging everywhere. Recalling beads I’d seen on other people in different walks of life, I had always assumed that these strands, which are finished off with a tassel were a piece of jewellery. After my reading, however, I learned how wrong I was.

Upon concluding each reading, each guest is given a set of mala beads — chosen in accordance with what the chart shows. Because my lucky colour is blue, for example (based on my chart), I was shown a selection of blue beads from which I could decide one to keep. While I got the gist of it from my experience in the Vedic reading, I knew I needed to look a little more into the mala beads. They were chosen for me for a reason, so I wanted to make sure I knew the how and why behind the tradition.

To see what I discovered, and to learn about mala beads yourself, keep reading.

What Are Mala Beads?

According to Yoga Journal, mala beads usually consist of 109 beads “typically stones, crystals, sandalwood, or rudraksha beads that carry  certain energy.” Traditionally the beads are used for meditation, “where a mantra is quietly repeated 108 times.”

By wearing the beads as a bracelet or necklace throughout the day, the beads are said to “help manifest the power of the stone.” Additionally, the beads can be viewed as a type of tool to guide meditation, similar to a rosary. “At the 109th bead,” Yoga Journal shares, “it is customary to give gratitude to teachers and the most important people in your life.”

Depending on what kind of effect you want, there is a huge variety of stones to meet every need. For example, turquoise is said to be great for healing and protection, while lava encourages strength. If getting a reading is not an option for you, take some time looking inside yourself to figure out what it is you want to focus on — and then turn to Google to find a corresponding stone.

How to Wear Mala Beads

As mala beads are so much more than a mere piece of jewellery, there is a specific way that they should be worn.  A few rules suggest that the beads should never touch the ground and when worn as a bracelet, should be wrapped around the right wrist.

There are plenty of methods when it comes to wrapping and securing the beads, so if you need more guidance on exactly how to put them on, one great resource Mala and Mantra is here to help. Regardless of how you wear them, keep the meaning in mind and use them for manifestation and meditation.