Hindu Of Universe    

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

What does Japa Mala mean?

Japa mala is a garland made of beads and is used in spiritual practices.

Sanskrit terms, japa is a prayer involving recital of mantras and mala means “garland.”

Japa malas have been used since ancient times by sages, yogis and Buddhists while performing their spiritual practices.

The beads in the japa mala are used to keep count of the number of times a mantra is uttered.

Japa mala may also be referred to as yoga beads in English.

Explains Japa Mala

The beads in a japa mala are 108 in number along with a guru bead. It is believed that 108 energy lines converge to form the heart chakra.

A japa mala may have fewer than 108 beads, but the number is always divisible by nine, such as 18, 27 and 54.

According to yogic philosophy, mantra has the power to promote healing and elevate the level of consciousness to attain spiritual aspirations.

Using japa mala helps to focus on the mantra, its sound and its power rather than the number of times a mantra is uttered.

The significance of the number of beads in a japa mala is that it is associated with the aim of practicing a particular japa.

A japa mala with 27 beads is used for spiritual progress and a japa mala with 108 beads is used for attaining fulfillment.

The following is an example of how a japa mala may be used while reciting mantras:

  • Sit straight. Keep the spine erect and the eyes closed.
  • Hold the mala in the right hand.
  • With every recital of a mantra, use the thumb to slightly pull the bead towards you and move on to the next bead. The guru bead should not be counted.

What is a Mala and Why Does it Have 108 Beads?

The mala necklace.

That extra-long beaded accessory has the look and feel of exotic beach vibes, yogi-surfer style, and mindful spirituality.

But what does it actually signify and why does it have 108 beads? 

Why Are Mala Beads Used?

There has been a rise in people in western culture, especially among today’s spiritual-seeking nomads, wearing mala necklaces.

With the rise of wellness travel, so too follows an increased popularity of this cultural necklace as a fashion accessory.

However, most people who wear them are likely unaware of what it fully signifies let alone have used it for its traditional purpose: counting mantras in meditation. 

The trend of wearing malas might be “new” to western travelers, but it actually dates back thousands of years.

The history of prayer beads is believed to have originated in India around the eighth century B.C.E. Many of today’s religions also use beaded necklaces — mala, rosary, subha — to help meditate and recite prayers.

The English word bead even comes from the Anglo-Saxon words bede and bidden which mean “prayer” and “to pray.” 

Is It Okay to Wear Mala Beads?

It’s good to note that you don’t have to be religious to wear or use a mala.

It is important, though, to understand its use and respect its significance.

The beads in a traditional mala are rudraksha seeds, produced by several species of large evergreen trees associated with the Hindu deity Shiva.

In the yogic tradition, the beads are used in japamala practice, reciting mantras in meditation.

A full cycle of 108 repetitions is counted on the mala so the practitioner can focus on the sounds, vibration, and meaning of what is being said.

A simple and common example of a Sanskrit mantra often chanted at the end of a yoga class would be om shanti shanti shanti, which is a calling out to connect us with inner peace.

Why Does a Mala Necklace Have 108 Beads?

So why 108 repetitions?

This is a question with hundreds of answers.

The number 108 has seemingly limitless meanings across various philosophical, scientific, and religious beliefs.

Some of the most interesting are: 

  • Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. So, 54 multiplied by 2 is 108. 
  • Heart chakra: The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna, leads to the crown chakra, and is believed to be the path to self-realization.
  • Sun and Earth: The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the sun.
  • Moon and Earth: The average distance of the moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the moon.
  • Planets and houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and nine planets. Twelve multiplied by nine equals 108.
  • Powers of 1, 2, and 3: In math, 1 to the 1st power equals 1, and 2 to the 2nd power (or 2 x 2) equals 4, and 3 to the 3rd power (3 x 3 x 3) equals 27. Therefore, 1 x 4 x 27 = 108.
  • Harshad number: 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is from Sanskrit and means “great joy”). 
  • River Ganga: The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79° to 91°), and a latitude of nine degrees (22° to 31°). Again, if you follow the math, 12 multiplied by nine equals 108.
  • 1, 0, and 8: Some say that one stands for God or higher Truth, zero stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and eight stands for infinity or eternity.
  • Pranayama: If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come.

There is a 109th bead that hangs at the bottom of a mala, called either the sumeru, bindu, stupa, or guru bead.

This often symbolizes the guru from whom the student received the mala or mantra, paying homage to the student-guru relationship.

It is never counted among the repetitions but used as a marker for a start and end of a cycle.

What’s Next?

Now that you know your basic Mala 101 (er, Mala 108?), hopefully you can find the time with your necklace to practice its formal use and have a deeper respect and understanding of why they’re worn, especially if you’re wearing one while traveling through countries where they’re traditionally used. 

Benefits Of MALA BEADS

Mala beads have been used in so many different spiritual traditions for so long because these beads have many powerful benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.

Some of the below eight benefits are universal for all types of prayer or counting beads but several of these benefits are specific to mala beads.

​1. Increases focus during mantra meditation.

​2. An efficient and practical tool to count mantras.

​3. An easy way to keep track of the number of mantras recited.

​4. Physical contact with prayer beads transmits their inherent healing powers.

​5. Once mala is empowered it can be used for even more powerful healing of yourself and others.

​6. Choosing a mala to purchase can help in process of determining goals and intentions and spiritual pursuits.

​7. Seeing or wearing a mala can serve as a reminder of one’s intention and goals. It can also be used as a reward or symbol for accomplishing a difficult task.

Japa Mala Working with your japa mala supports spiritual development.
Japa – Sanskrit = ‘silent and internal repetition’, use of sacred, personal mantra during meditation.
Mala – Sanskrit = ‘garland’, the beaded necklace used as a tool in meditation practice.
MantraSanskrit = (mind/liberate) a word or set of words, sound or syllable, affirmation, intention, chant.

There are 108 beads on a japa mala necklace, plus one extra bead named a guru bead.

The number 108 has sacred and spiritual meaning.

For example, it is 9×12 – in the Vedic system of astrology, there are 9 planets and 12 houses.

The river Ganges in India spans 12 degrees longitude and 9 of latitude. 

108 energy lines converge at the heart centre.  
The guru bead is also significant as it may represent our spiritual goal and hold spiritual energy. 

This guru bead is not touched during japa mala practice.

How to use your Mala
Your mala can be used for japa of a Sanskrit mantra you have been initiated into (preferable), the universal mantra ‘aum’ or simply use the sound and pace of your breath as you pass each bead along the fingers.

The Sanskrit language is built on combinations of sounds that resonate in the energy pathways of the body and in the environment in a precise way.

So, pronunciation is important.

Sometimes people chant words of affirmation in their own language, such as ‘peace.’

With japa, the realization of the qualities represented by the mantra comes about through focused concentration and a spirit of devotion while chanting.

Each bead on your personal mala is infused with sacred energy.

  • Sit comfortably and upright.
  • Hold the mala in your right hand, with the mala draped over your middle finger. The index finger is not used because it represents the ego.
  • Place your hand and mala near or above the heart.
  • With your thumb, hold the first bead past the guru bead. Chant your mantra (or use the pace of your breath, focusing on the bead, the sound and the sensations in your body.
  • Then draw the next bead towards you with your thumb and chant the mantra again. Continue all the way around the mala until you reach the last bead before the guru bead.
  • The tassel can be an indicator or the feeling of the change in beads. You finish one round of the mala on this bead before the guru bead. If you would like to do another round, do not cross the guru bead. Turn the mala around and repeat the process.

Some people practice this with a japa mala bag around the hand with a little hole the index finger sticks out to help avoid using it.

The bag protects the mala and contains energies of the mantra and prana.

The practitioners keep their mantra and japa mala secret.

It is best to dedicate the same mantra for the mala necklace.

This can support your japa practice by holding the energies particular to this mantra. Some people like to wear the mala to remind themselves to stay connected to their spiritual practice values.

Others prefer to keep the mala only for japa.

Your japa mala necklace is not a fashion accessory and should be treated with grace and respect.

With practice you will recognize how much time you have been meditating.

You will become familiar with the feel of the beads and will know when the guru bead is approaching.

Caring for your Mala
Your sacred mala bead necklace should be gently cared for like any precious items you care about.

Here are some tips on how to care for your mala beads:

  • Take off before bed so you do not sleep with them on.
  • Avoid getting them wet, like in the shower, swimming, excessive sweating. Water may erode the fibres of the thread or rot the beads.
  • If you need to clean them, gently wipe with a slightly damp cloth or soft brush. Do not use any soaps or oils.
  • If they do get wet, lay them flat to dry naturally in a warm place.
  • Avoid wearing them if there is a chance of being pulled or snagged (ie yoga class, sports activities).
  • Sometimes mala necklaces will break, do not feel disappointed, you can restring them or keep the beads in a special place.
  • Your rudraksha and wooden beads may darken with wear. This is natural.
  • Place is a soft cotton bag or wrapped in cloth when not in use.
  • You can place in sunlight or moonlight to cleanse and/or keep near your favorite gemstones.
  • If you have a little altar or spiritual space, you can place your mala beads here. You do not need to wear them as a fashion item.

I hope you enjoy learning and practicing japa mala on your journey!

Three Different Types Of Japa In Hinduism

Japa in Hinduism is the meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name.

There are three different ways in which japa is performed.

This is often done with (rosary beads) (called Japamala Beads in Hinduism) or prayer wheels, or specific prayer beads – sometimes in a small handheld loop.

Japa in Hinduism is the meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name.

There are three different ways in which japa is performed.

  • Vachika Japa
  • Upamsu Japa
  • Manasa Japa

Vachika Japa

In Vachika Japa, the mantra is pronounced audibly, by the activity of the glottis, throat, the tongue, lips, teeth, cheeks, and the palate.

If a number of persons utter the mantra together by producing uniform sounds in a pleasant manner,

then a serene atmosphere is produced, and every participant benefits from the calming, absorbing effect on everybody’s mind.

Vachika Japa can be performed in a low voice, with a uniform, absorbing tone by a single individual.

Upamsu Japa

In Upamsu japa, there is no audible sound of the words of the mantra, but the words are actually uttered in a very low, whispering voice with minute movements of the apparatus of speech and without any movements of the vocal cords.

Thus, in upamsu japa, the varnas are pronounced but there is no dhvani or sound produced.

There is much less expenditure of energy and less distraction of the mind in upamsu japa as compared to vachika japa.

Upamasu japa is more effective for concentrating the mind of the deity.

Manasa Japa

Manasa japa is the highest and most effective form of japa.

In it there is neither any audible nor low sound produced, and there are no movements of the lips, tongue and cheeks.

The above three varieties of japa are described in Mantra Yoga Samhita (64:3-4) as follows – “Manasa japa is that form of japa which cannot be heard even by one’s own ears, while upamsu is that variety in which the mantra is heard by oneself but not by any other person.

Vachika japa, on the other hand, can be heard by anyone in the vicinity.”

Thus, in the three varieties, only the manner in which the words are uttered differs, whereas repletion of the syllables forming the mantra is common in all three varieties. Even in manasa japa, the words are called to mind, but without uttering them in the slightest manner.

About the efficiency of three varieties of japa, it is said in Gandharva Tantra (XVIII.41- 42) that “what one achieves by repeating Vachika japa a hundred thousand times can be achieved by a single repetition of upamsu japa, while a single repetition of manasa japa is as effective as one hundred thousand repetitions of upamsu japa.

But manasa japa requires controlling the tendency of the mind to wander.

Vachika japa is the japa practiced by majority of people as it does not require much control of the mind.

 Choosing Your Mala: 7 Types Mala of Traditional Beads

Countless meditators have long used japa malas to increase focus and stay present during meditation.

And for good reason too, japa malas are practical, beautiful, and best of all, easy to use. While most malas are traditionally strung with 108 beads, that by no means makes them all the same: malas are as unique as the people who use them.

They range in size and color.

They can be made with or without knots.

But the most notable differences are the bead materials. 

Textured, smooth, small, or large, there’s no limit to the types of mala beads out there. Malas are made of everything from seeds to stone, though some materials are more popular than others.

Read on to learn more about traditional mala bead materials along with the unique qualities and meaning behind each one. 

Rudraksha Seed Malas 

Rudraksha seeds are some of most popular mala beads and have been used by gurus and monks for thousands of years.

Highly sacred, Rudraksha seeds are said to have originated from the tears of Lord Shiva Himself, making them an auspicious choice for meditation.

They guard against negativity energy, offer protection, and bring peace and prosperity to the wearer.

Their naturally puckered and pitted surface creates a unique sensation for the fingers during meditation, helping ground you in the present.

Lightweight and available in all different sizes, Rudraksha seeds are best worn against the skin so you can directly absorb their energies. 

Bone Malas

Bones malas symbolize impermanence.

They remind us that nothing lasts forever, and so we must embrace the present with mindfulness and compassion.

Bone is a very common mala material: malas from Nepal and Tibetan in particular are often made with bones from yaks, water buffalo, and oxen.

This is partly due to the traditional lifestyles in these regions, where livestock is essential to people’s livelihood.

Using the bones of animals raised for sustenance avoids unnecessary waste and allows the animals to be of service long after they’ve passed.

Because of the strong Buddhist influence in these regions, you can easily find ethically-made bone malas from Tibet and Nepal.

Stark and striking, bone beads are often carved to look like skulls, yet another reminder of life’s transitory nature. 

Sandalwood Malas

Sandalwood mala beads are carved from the wood of sandalwood trees that grow naturally in Asia and East India.

Revered across multiple traditions, sandalwood is considered holy and has long been used in Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies.

Meditating with a sandalwood mala is believed to bring the wearer closer to the Divine, calm the mind, and stimulate the Third Eye Chakra.

Because sandalwood is naturally fragrant, sandalwood malas often have a subtle scent, one that’s deliciously woody and even a little bit spicy.

This unique aroma is of the most prized aspects of sandalwood and is said to inspire tranquility and awareness during meditation.

Those who want a more fragrant meditation experience or like to feel grounded through scent will enjoy sandalwood beads. 

Rosewood Malas

Rosewood is a prized wood from India and has long been used to make Buddhist rosaries.

This wood’s dark, striking color is associated with grounding and protection: meditating with Rosewood beads is said to dispel negativity and bad vibes.

Connected to divine goddess energy, Rosewood is also associated with the Heart Chakra, the body’s center of compassion, love, and forgiveness.

Anyone wishing to soften their heart or open themselves up to more loving relationships may benefit from using rosewood mala beads.

Rosewood beads are smooth and incredibly lightweight, an excellent option for beginners and seasoned meditators. 

Lava Stone Malas

Lava stone mala beads are cut from volcanic rock, which is formed when molten lava cools and hardens into a striking black stone.

Associated with the Root Chakra, the body’s center of strength and balance, lava stone is a top choice for anyone seeking stability: meditating with lava stone is said to ground the spirit in the healing energies of the earth.

Unlike wood beads, which tend to have smoother finish, lava stone has a grittier texture.

Many find its rough façade satisfying on the hands and helpful for building awareness during breathing.

Lava stone’s porous surface also has the extra benefit of being a natural oil diffuser: adding a few drops of any essential oil to your lava stone mala transforms your meditation into an aromatic experience.  

Lotus Seed Malas

The lotus flower is one of the most cherished symbols in Eastern spirituality.

Growing naturally in ponds, the lotus must struggle through muck and mud before it rises above the water and blossoms in the sun.

Because of this miraculous transformation, the lotus flower has long represented purity, spiritual growth, and triumph over obstacles.

Malas made using lotus seeds allude to the lotus’s inspiring journey, reminding you that the most beautiful blossoms often emerge from the muddiest of circumstances.

Smooth and lightweight, lotus seed malas are a powerful reminder of your own inherent strength and fortitude. 

Bodhi Seed Malas

Bodhi seed beads are actually seeds of the Ficus religiosa, a type of fig tree that grows throughout India and Southeast Asia.

Bodhi seeds are auspicious and a vital symbol in Buddhism.

According to legend, when the Buddha was seeking enlightenment as a young man, he vowed to meditate under a fig tree until he discovered the answer to humanity’s suffering.

After 49 days, he finally attained enlightenment.

The tree he sat under was later honored as the original Bodhi tree, Bodhi being the Sanskrit word for enlightenment. 

Bodhi seed malas are a beautiful way to honor this story and to fuel your own spiritual practice with a similar sense of patience and commitment.

Bodhi seeds beads range in size and tend to be on the smoother side, with traces of tiny cracks and grooves that imbue your mala with an earthy appeal.  

When you’re choosing a mala, it’s important to remember there’s no such thing as the “right” mala: there’s only the mala that’s right for you.

Knowing the materials that go into making these unique tools can help you decide which mala will enhance your personal practice. 


When we started Japa Mala Beads in 2004 there was only a couple of other companies making and importing mala beads so choosing a mala was a fairly easy task.

Nowadays there are a huge number of different materials and designs for mala beads—even with our own company we have expanded from 5 malas to over 160 mala designs! Because of all of these options we have put together this extensive guide of the 8 best methods and tips to help you choose the best mala for you.

There are many factors to consider on your journey to selecting the perfect mala for you to use and wear.

We have numbered these tips for you to proceed through them to find your perfect mala, but you certainly do not have to do all of these steps.

We do highly recommend that at the very least you do the first and last tips.

Being clear on your intention and following and trusting your intuition are the two most potent ways for choosing mala beads.

1. Mala bead intentions and goals

Mala beads are made from sacred woods and seeds and mystical gemstones which all carry specific subtle energies.

These healing and energetic properties will affect your body and mind while wearing and using mala beads, so it is important to align these energies with your intentions for your japa meditation as well as your spiritual and life goals.

Before starting to shop for a new mala take some time to reflect on what your intention is for using and wearing mala beads.

If you are not clear on what your larger spiritual and life goals are, then also take some contemplation time to make a list of these goals.

Once you are clear on your intentions and goals then you can choose mala beads based on the main categories of intentions below.

You will notice that there are still lots of choices in each intention section so continue to refine your choice by using some or all of the proceeding steps.

2. Beauty and attraction to beads

Phycologists that have studied the effect of color and light on our emotional and mental states have found some common patterns but have also seen that colors affect each person differently.

According to chakra therapy, our attraction and reaction to certain colors may be linked to our unique mental and emotional imbalances.

Both color and chakra therapy believe that wearing and using specific color in your environment can have healing properties.

Therefore, you should consider the traditional energetic effects of the colors of beads in your mala when choosing a new one or wearing or using one in your collection.

3. Meaning of Mala Bead Colors

The look and design of mala beads vary quite a lot—from a simple unadorned strand of wood or seed beads to malas made with beautiful gemstones that are accented with complementing crystals, metal spacer beads, and hand-crafted tassels.

Surrounding yourself with beautiful, sacred and spiritually uplifting objects can be a powerful way to create happiness, hope, and inspiration in your daily life.

As you shop for mala beads pay close attention to what designs you feel attracted to and drawn towards.

Reflect on what exactly is creating this attraction (color, shape, design, style, etc.) to hone in on what elements to focus on.

The physical and spiritual symbolism of mala colors:

  • Red mala beads represent kundalini shakti, power, passion, desire, sexuality, and love. The red color activates the 1st chakra: Muladhara. The chromotherapy effects of the color red are: warming, energizing, stimulating, and strengthening. In India, red is the most frequently used color for auspicious occasions like marriages, births, ceremonies, and festivals. These ceremonies and rituals often involve putting a red tilaka mark of kumkum is put on the forehead of the devotee.
  • Orange mala beads represent prana (life force energy) and enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement. The orange color activates the 2nd chakra: Svadhisthana. The chromotherapy effects of the color orange are: warming, attraction, abundance, and enjoyment. Orange is the sacred color for the Hindus as is worn by yogi ascetics to symbolizes their quest for enlightenment.
  • Yellow mala beads represent personal power, self-esteem, willfulness, and energy. The yellow color activates the 3rd chakra: Manipura. The chromotherapy effects of the color yellow are: strengthening, awakening, energizing, cheerfulness, confidence, and vitality.
  • Green mala beads represent compassion, universal love, growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. The green color activates the 4th chakra: Anahata. The chromotherapy effects of the color green are: balancing, harmonizing, soothing, rejuvenating, cleansing and calming.
  • Blue mala beads represent peace, communication, inspiration, expression, trust, loyalty, confidence and faith. The blue color activates the 5th chakra: Vissudha. The chromotherapy effects of the color blue are: cooling, tranquility, patience, sincerity, devotion, and understanding.
  • Purple mala beads represent knowledge, intuition, insight, higher wisdom, power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. The purple color activates the 6th chakra: Ajna. The chromotherapy effects of the color purple are: transformation, detoxification, meditation, inspiration, compassion, and contemplation.
  • White mala beads represent light, goodness, innocence, and purity. The white color activates the 7th chakra: Sahasrara. The chromotherapy effects of the color white are: balance, harmony, perfection, consciousness, divination, cleanliness and simplicity.
  • Black mala beads represent power, elegance, formality, and mystery. The chromotherapy effects of the color black are: protection, seriousness, death, mourning, mystery, transformation and secrecy.

4. Chakra mala beads

The tradition of tantra yoga describes seven main subtle energy centers in the body located along the spine. Each chakra is associated with a set of organs and systems which correspond with the areas in our body where a lot of energy flows. When this energy becomes blocked or excessive it can present as physical, mental and emotional issues. Gemstones and crystals have been used to help balance, enhance and unblock the seven chakra energy centers and you can find these same stones used in mala beads.

As you read through this list of the primary chakra properties note anything that resonates with your intentions, challenges, and personality.

  • 1st Chakra (Muladhara) –  This chakra tends to all the survival needs and one’s sense of security. The root chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as groundedness, stability, mental and physical health and prosperity. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as insecurity, unsettled feelings, and clinging tendencies. Choose one of our root chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 2nd Chakra (Svadhisthana) –  This chakra deals with our needs and desires, both sexually and emotionally. The sacral chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as sensuality, sexuality, contentment, and creativity. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as sexual dysfunction, lack of sensation, and unstable emotions. Choose one of our sacral chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 3rd Chakra (Manipura) –  This chakra deals with our personal power, self-esteem, willfulness, and energy. The solar plexus chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as willpower, dynamic action, self-esteem, ambition, and confidence. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as low self-esteem, lack of vision and fatigue. Choose one of our solar plexus chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 4th Chakra (Anahata) –  This chakra deals with our ability to be open and able to love ourselves and others. The heart chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as love for oneself and others, kindness, compassion, open-heartedness. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as depression, seclusion, isolation, and cynicism. Choose one of our heart chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 5th Chakra (Vishuddha) –  This chakra is where the purification and harmonizing of all opposites takes place. The throat chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as open communication, expression, and truth. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as isolation, dishonesty, and poor communication. Choose one of our throat chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 6th Chakra (Ajna) –  This chakra controls all higher mental activities including intellectual, emotional, and mental intelligence, and insight. The third eye chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as strong levels of intellect, intention, and intuition. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as confusion, dishonesty, distraction, and lack of direction. Choose one of our third eye chakra malas to balance this chakra.
  • 7th Chakra (Sahasrara) –  This chakra allows us to experience the unity of all things and to have the realization that everything is interwoven and connected. The crown chakra’s balanced qualities are expressed as connection with the divine, ability to perceive, analyze and assimilate information, open-mindedness, wisdom, and self-mastery. Imbalanced qualities of this chakra express as negativity, separation, duality, poor short-term memory, poor coordination, and hallucinations. Choose one of our crown chakra malas to balance this chakra.

5. Zodiac gems and birthstones

Throughout human history, different gemstones and crystals have been assigned to different astrological signs and birth months based on associating the energetic properties of gemstones with the personality qualities of the zodiac.

Astrological gemstones, also known as Astral stones, can be different than modern birthstone associations but are based on similar principles.

For Zodiac gemstones, the theory is that each sun sign is linked to one or more gemstones that enable the wearer to evoke hidden powers and enhance positive personality traits.


Aquarius: Onyx

Pisces: Aquamarine

Aries: Moonstone

Taurus: Smoky Quartz

Gemini: Garnet

Cancer: Malachite

Leo: Larimar

Virgo: Citrine

Libra: Azurite

Scorpio: Amethyst

Sagittarius: Turquoise

Capricorn: Rose Quartz

Birthstones are one or more gemstones that have been selected for each of the 12 months of the year.

Originally the list of birthstones was limited to one per month but this list has been revised several times in order to allow more options.

Many people believe that wearing one’s birthstone brings good luck and is a charm or talisman that carries protective powers.

Unfortunately, several birthstones are not readily available in the proper size to make mala beads from.


January: Garnet

February: Amethyst

March: Aquamarine, Bloodstone

April: Diamond

May: Emerald

June: Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone

July: Ruby

August: Peridot, Sardonyx, Spinel

September: Sapphire

October: Tourmaline, Opal

November: Citrine, Topaz

December: Zircon, Tanzanite, Turquoise

6. Full necklace mala or wrist mala

Another important consideration on how to choose a japa mala is how you intend to wear and use it.

We have found that mala bracelets can be a bit easier to use with japa meditation (mantra chanting) as you do not have to manage the long hang of 108 beads.

If you are doing a large number of repetitions of 108 mantras then using wrist malas can create a challenge of keeping track of multiple mantra rounds, thus a full mala works best for long meditations.

Some people prefer the feel and look of bracelets and necklaces differently, so it is important to note your personal wearing preference when choosing between a bracelet mala or a necklace mala.

7. Bead size and mala length

The standard sizes of beads used in malas are 6mm and 8mm.

You will find a few malas made with larger beads of 10mm and 12mm but these can be difficult to wear and practice japa mediation with.

The size of your fingers and the agility of your hands will be a determining factor to the best size of bead to use for japa meditation.

The bead size, along with additional spacer and marker beads, will also determine the overall length and circumference of a mala.

For a wrist or bracelet mala, you want the mala’s circumference to be about 1/2 inch larger than the size of your wrist.

For a full 108 bead mala the length is a personal preference of where the guru bead feels best resting on your chest.

While we do not recommend wrapping a necklace mala around one’s wrist, the mala’s size will also be important if you want to wear it wrapped.


(Bracelet malas are 5.5″ to 7.75″ and Necklace malas are 25″ to 42″)

5.5″ • 6″ • 6.5″ • 6.25″ • 6.75″ • 7″ • 7.25″ • 7.50″ • 7.75″ • 23″ • 25″ • 26″ • 27″ • 28 • 30″ • 31″ • 32″ • 33″ • 35″ • 36″ • 39″ • 40″ • 42″

8. Intuition

Accessing and using your intuition can be a powerful way to choose your mala.

Your intuition is sometimes called the sixth sense and is often described as a gut feeling, hunch or sense of inner-knowing.

Tapping into your intuition can be very helpful If you feel stuck deciding between two or three different malas.

Everyone has their own technique for accessing their intuition but a good place to start is by closing your eyes, breathing deeply and shifting your focus away from your thoughts to what you are feeling in your body.

Different types of Japa Mala And their benefits?

You would see people with Japa Mala, at every start and end of the day, Especially if you are A person living anywhere in Asia.

”Japa Mala” is a part of life and people who use have reaped its benefits.

 Do you think all Japa Mala look the same?

Did you know there is a significance of each Japa Mala?

What are the benefits of doing Jap?

After reading this article you will have a clear idea.

What is A Japa Mala?

In Sanskrit, the meaning of ‘Japa’ is to repeatedly chant a mantra Where one foc uses on an object of divinity.

Chanting the mantras as you place your fingers upon the beads- and moving it in a circular path is an ancient technique to purify the body, mind, and Soul.

Mantras are strong forces that create strong vibrational energies around us.

Did you know?

A Japa Mala helps us to keep the count of mantras.

Popularly the chanting is done in ‘108’ and ’27’ times and there are Malas of as many beads as 108 and 27.

According to Vedas, the number 108 has a very powerful significance in science and spirituality:

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.

The Japa Mala has one main Bead in the center, which is actually the 109th.

Bead or Seed, which indicates the start and the endpoint of the Japa Mala, is called the Sumeru/ Guru, Bindu, Stupa bead.

Mostly this Bead is larger in size than the other 108 Beads.

Types of Japa Malas:

1. Rudraksha Japa Mala

This is probably the common Japa mala we have all seen.

It is made of Rudraksha beads having different Mukhas (faces) such as

One Mukhi (One faced),

Two Mukhi (Two-faced),

Three Mukhi (Three faced), etc.

These beads when used correctly can align your mind and the energy around you to specific outcomes in health, happiness, spiritual upliftment, prosperity, creativity, intuitive ability, desire fulfillment, harmony, attraction, and self-empowerment.

Rudraksha Malas are used in chanting for Lord Shiva mantras.

2. Tulasi Japa Mala:

Undoubtedly, Tulasi malas are for Lord Krishna.

With all the other avatars of Lord Vishnu also.

Althought, it’s regarded as the most sacred and auspicious.

The person who does Jap with Hari’s name receives purification to the soul, gives peace of mind, wards off evil eye of others and reduces stress.

3. Gemstone Japa Mala:

These Gemstone malas are not meant for chanting any divinities name Rather, they are the gemtones which are placed according to planetary positions.

Hence they help in reducing the harsh effect of planetary positions like Doshas.

Further, you can wear these malas and do japa at any place.

Some examples include the black jade mala, blue and Navratna malas.

4. Sphatik Malas

Sphatik Malas appear to be crystal in structure meaning, So, As a person does the japa the crystals harmonises the aura present in the surroundings.

Making sure you absorb good energy as your body head cools down removing the negative energy present in the surroundings.

Wearing this mala gives you sound sleep and are best for chanting mantras for Goddess Lakshmi.

5. Lotus Seed Mala:

If you guessed this would be used for chanting mantras for Goddess Saraswati, then you are right.

This is for Goddess lakshmi as well. Made from the seeds of lotus as name suggests, when A person does japa, they get benefits 0f good levels of growth, knowledge and wealth.

6. Sandalwood Malas

This is the best smelling malas! As it suggests it is made from pure sandalwood which is traditionally from an Indian herb.

Doing japa improves concentration and consciousness at a heigher level with this is gives a cooling effect on your body and mind and Balances Pitta.

7 thoughts on “Different types of Japa Mala And their benefits?”

Different types of Japa Malas
A Japa Mala or a Rosary string consists of 108 beads called Mala, used to count mantras with one bead as the peak bead called “SUMERU”.

Energized Japa Mala or Rosaries Mala have been used for thousands of years.

Japa Mala is used to keep our state of mind control during meditation practice.

The Japa malas and mantras depend upon our individual mind and body type.

They are either provided by a Guru or can be selected by yourself depending upon your intuitive sense.

There are different kinds of Japa malas, each having certain effects and properties which delicately influence the unconscious mind of the practitioner.

Lotus Seed Mala:

This type of Lotus Seed Mala is used during Japas and Sadhana of Goddess Lakshmi. It is said that the Goddess is easily appeased if one uses this rosary for the chanting of her Mantra and she bestows upon him wealth and comforts.

Turmeric Mala:

The Turmeric Mala is used to perform special prayers and to destroy enemies and succeed in law suits. By wearing this turmeric mala disease like Jaundice can be cured. With this Turmeric mala one attains peace of mind and gets rid of anxiety, depression and tensions.

Coral Mala:

Coral Mala is used during worship of Lord Ganesha, Hanuman, goddess Lakshmi and Mars planet.

Coral Mala are useful for people who are prone to anemic condition.

Tibetan Buddhists considered Red Coral has treasure for centuries and considered as the most precious natural “stone,” and the supreme Mala material.

Putra Jeeva Mala:

Putra jeeva mala also known as putra prapti mala is made of from the fruit seed of Putrajeeva tree.

This Putra jeeva rosary Mala has the power of bestowing the wearer with a son.

Mantra of Jupiter, Sun or Santangopal and all those Mantras which are recited with the wish of having desired offspring can be recited on it.

Sandal Wood Mala:

Sandal wood mala used for welcoming and for giving honor. Sandalwood rosaries come in two types as red and white beads.

The white sandal wood mala is used for peace and empowering rituals and for worshipping Lord Ram and Vishnu.

The Red sandal wood mala is used to worship of Lord Ganesha.

Crystal Mala:

Since crystal balances all the energy Chakras while reciting mantras during meditation Crystal Mala can be used as a japa Mala.

These  Crystal beads also protect and heal by neutralizing negative influences.

Tulsi Mala:

Lord Vishnu, Ram and Krishna are worshipped by Tulsi mala.

This mala is useful in curing diseases like throat and for purification of the body.

Conch Mala or Shankhas:

Conch Mala are very lucky and are dear to the Goddess Mahalakshmi.

Shankha mala can be used during Mahalakshmi sadhana and also during other sadhanas.

Conch Mala is also used for tantric rituals.

Bodhiseed Mala:

Bodhi seeds mala is used for meditation and for reciting many types of mantras.

This japa mala aids the practitioner in counting mantra recitations while also helping to focus concentration and awareness.

It is very popular among Buddhist monks.

Vaijanti Mala:

Vaijanti Mala is made of White beads of Vaijanti and is used for Vashikaran, Attraction and Devi Siddhi.

It is also used by the devotees of Lord Vishnu and for chanting Mantras for worship of goddess Lakshmi.

Chirmi Beads Mala:

The Goddess of wealth, MahaLaxmi, stays near to these Beads it is said the bead itself will choose its owner and will not stay with an unlucky person.

These chirmi beads are considered very lucky and powerful.

This mala can be used for Shaligram shingar too.

Amber Mala:

During Japa Amber Mala is that contains 10 -11 mm 108 round amber beads.

It is very useful in diseases related to blood and disorder in menstruation.

Sphatik Mala:

Sphatik mala is the best mala for counting beads while chanting Devi Mantras.

By wearing this Sphatik mala, the mind becomes pacified and quiet and becomes favorite of Lord Shiva.

Rudraksha Mala:

Rudraksha mala are very effective used in all kinds of rituals while worshipping gods, goddesses and nine planets.

Rudraksha mala is said to have many healing properties.

Rudraksha is said to be rich with shakti and calms the kundalini, thus making it easier to rise.

Navratna Mala:

Navratna Mala pacifies nine planets. So there are nine precious stones corresponding the nine planets or navagrahas in it which are

Ruby (Sun),

Pearl (Moon),

Red coral (Mars),

Emerald (Mercury),

Yellow sapphire (Jupiter),

Diamond (Venus),

Blue Sapphire (Saturn),

Hessonite (Rahu) and Cat’s Eye (Ketu).

Parad Mala:

Parad mala is considered as one of the most pure and auspicious metals since ancient times having both religious and medical importance.

Parad in the form of beads is a very powerful cure of diabetes, blood pressure and heart diseases.

Parad mala can be worn around the neck or waist and can also be used a japa mala.


You have probably seen your yoga and meditation friends wearing tasseled necklaces and wondered what they are? This simple string of beads serves a purpose far beyond mere adornment and holds a profound significance in the world of meditation.

When you see someone with a mala, they are not just wearing a piece of jewelry; they are carrying a tool for counting the repetition of ancient mantras.

It is also a symbol of their commitment to cultivating inner peace and spiritual growth.

What are mala beads?

A mala is a simple string of beads used in japa meditation to count mantras, prayers, or intentions.

Malas can also be used to count breaths or used in a gratitude meditation. Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland or rosary.

Malas are a type of meditation or prayer beads and are ancient tools that were developed to keep the mind focused and clear from thoughts.

How many beads are in a mala?

A full mala contains 108 counting beads plus one guru or meru bead.

Usually, a 108 bead mala is long enough to wear as a necklace.

A mala can also be strung as a half mala containing 54 beads, or as a wrist mala with 27 counting beads to be worn as a bracelet.

The guru (teacher) or meru (mountain) bead is often larger than the other counting mantra beads and it provides a starting and ending point for counting the repetitions of the mantra.

A tassel is connected to the end of the guru/meru  to finish the mala with a final knot.

Malas are also referred to as mantra beads, meditation beads, Hindu rosaries or Buddhist prayer beads.

Why do malas have 108 beads?

The number 108 has a very powerful significance in the science and spirituality of India. There are 108 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet! Vedic mathematicians measured the Sun’s diameter to be 108 times larger than the diameter of the Earth, measured the distance between the Sun and Earth to be 108 times the Sun’s diameter.

In the yogic tradition, we find 108 sacred texts of the Upanishads, 108 sacred holy sites in India, and 108 marma (acupressure-like) points on the body.

In the bhakti yoga tradition, stories are told of 108 gopis dancing with Krishna in Vrindavan, and there are 108 names of the goddess.

In tantric yoga, 108 energy lines are described throughout the body and they all converge and connect at the heart chakra.

The 109th bead

The largest bead in a mala necklace is called the guru (teacher) or meru (mountain) bead.

It is located at the center of the mala and serves as a marker for the start and end of the 108 beads.

It is typically made from the same type of material as the counting beads, but it can be different in size, shape, or material than the other beads in the mala.

The guru bead is considered the most important part of the mala and symbolizes the relationship between the student and the teacher or guru in the spiritual traditions of India and Asia.

The student can use this bead as a point of focus during their meditation practice and seek guidance and blessings from their guru or spiritual mentor.

What are malas made from?

Malas can be made of many different materials.

The most common types of beads used in a mala are made from wood, seeds, or semi-precious gemstones.

Depending on the material used, the properties of the beads will have certain energetic effects.

Different spiritual practices and religious traditions historically have used beads of a specific material.

In India, malas are primarily made from sandalwood, tulsi, and rudraksha seeds.

In Nepal and Tibet, most malas are made from bodhi or lotus seeds, and bone.

Synthetic materials are frowned upon as they do not have the beauty, healing properties or energy resonance as gemstones or sacred woods or seeds.

Sizes and types of beads

The counting beads in a mala are usually between 6mm and 10mm with 8mm being the most common.

Larger beads will be easier to count and practice japa with but will make the mala longer and heavier.

Mala beads can be made from a single material or several different kinds of wood and stone beads.

Malas may also contain thin metal spacer beads that are used for decoration and are not to be counted.

The guru bead can be the same size as the counting beads or can be larger to stand out more.

The guru bead is typically made from the same type of material as the counting beads.

Tassels, knots, counters and cords

A mala’s tassel is usually made from cotton or silk.

At Japa Mala Beads we use eco-friendly hemp for our tassels.

It is typical to find malas strung with cotton cord or nylon string.

For maximum durability, we use a super strong coated braided wire to string our necklace malas and a thick clear elastic to string our bracelet malas.

Mala beads from India usually have knots between each bead, while malas from Tibet, Nepal, and China are not knotted between the beads.

Some Tibetan style malas will have two counters attached to each side of the mala.

These are used to count very large repetitions (hundreds to thousands!) of mantras and can be easily added or removed if necessary.