History of Mala Beads

What are Mala Beads?

Mala beads are ancient, sacred, meditation beads. They are used in a specific style of meditation called Japa Meditation in which you repeat a specific mantra or affirmation for each bead.

Traditional malas will have 108 beads, and there are many different spiritual meanings behind the number 108. Some say that ideally, one will go through the mala 100 times, leaving 8 times for the mind to wander away from your mantra. Others say it represents the energy lines through the chakras; there are 108 energy lines, and 7 places in the body in which they intersect, aka the chakras. Another explanation says 108 comes from doubling the 54 letters of the sanscrit alphabet to represent both Shiva and Shakti, yin and yang, feminine and masculine, lunar and solar within each of us, encompassing the whole. The extra bead is called the guru bead, representing both the ending and the beginning. If you are to go through your mala more than 108 times, you do not pass through the guru bead, but rather go back from where you came.

In the Hindu tradition, the mala is draped over either the middle or the ring finger with the index finger (representing ego) out of the way. You then use your thumb to either push each bead away, or pull each bead towards you- whichever feels the most comfortable for you. As you come to each bead, you repeat your mantra or affirmation, and through this repetition, you build the spiritual energy known as Japa. This practice is quite grounding, and can also be extremely helpful in manifestation!

Interestd in learning more? Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about this practice, or join her most popular workshop: Mala Beads + Japa Meditation. Janelle offers this workshop in person at local studios and virtually! The recording is a more condensed version of the workshop, but covers all the basics you need to know to create a foundation for this practice, and is offered by donation. Please reach out via the Contact Page for more information on signing up for the in-person workshop, or for access to the recorded version!