Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning “garland”. It is a string of 108 beads plus one guru bead.
Malas are also known as Buddhist or Hindu prayer beads. They have been used for thousands of years in these and other religious traditions. However, they are increasingly utilized by people who are not affiliated with any religion at all. They are an excellent spiritual tool for meditating, reciting mantras, praying, and setting intentions. When used for chanting or mantra reciting they are often called japamalas. They are both beautiful to wear and useful in spiritual practices.
Traditionally, the beads in a mala are made of wood, seeds, nuts, bone and other organic materials. Using gemstones and crystals for healing purposes has surged in popularity and you can find them readily in fine crafted malas. Having stone beads in your mala is a perfect way to set intentions and meditate on specific desires and anticipated outcomes. They also feel very nice!
Meditating with a mala increases focus, improves memory, and lowers blood pressure. Beyond these physical and mental benefits, working with a mala also uplifts us spiritually. Using a mala strengthens spiritual connections, helps harness creative energy, develops intuition, and makes us more aware of the Divine that resides in us all.