How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation 

How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation 

Mala beads are an excellent tool for achieving a more mindful, grounded meditation practice. Knowing how to properly use 108 mala beads in your meditation can help you get the most value out of the process.

Whether you are just a novice in meditation or have been doing it for years, mala beads are a great tool to help focus your attention. The physical activity of counting these beads help ground you, and allow you to bring your attention back to them whenever your thoughts start drifting. If you are just getting started with the whole concept, you may have a hard time coordinating your hands and mind at first. As you regularly use mala beads during your meditation practice, this clumsiness will subside and you will attain the benefits of using this tool.

To help you get the most out of your 108 mala beads, here is a comprehensive article that describes how to use your beads for meditation.

Parts of the mala beads

A mala bead will have 108 beads. The 109th bead, or commonly referred to as the guru bead or head bead, is the larger bead at the end of the necklace which is used to harness your intention and be a reminder of why you are meditating.

The bead also has a tassel, which lay below the head bead. It represents the thousand petals of a lotus flower which thrives in muddy waters. This flower symbolizes your transformation to the best version of yourself. 

Meditation sessions with mala

Before you sit down and try to do mala meditation, it’s essential to know how to work with the beads so that you are confident in how to use them and they don’t get in the way of your meditation.

Your practice will look like this: First, you will have to decide whether you want mantra repetitions, sacred phrase repetition, prayer repetition, or to count breaths. You’ll then prepare for practice by kneeling, sitting in position, or relaxing in a chair. Some people may even perform Japa (a gentle stroll meditation). So, for each bead you repeat your mantra or prayer, count your in and out-breath, or utter your sacred phrase. While doing this, you can roll the bead gently over the middle finger. Here is a step by step guide on how to handle the beads during mediation:

  • Hold the mala beads in your dominant hand with the tassel facing your direction
  • Begin your practice with the mala bead to the right of the head bead
  • Move from one bead to the next, rolling them through your fingers as a way to physically direct your attention and energy
  • Don’t move the beads with your index finger, as this displays ego
  • Focus on the knots between each bead, as the knots are meant to slow down the meditation and ease the process of turning from bead to bead

You may have a bit of a hard time initially, however with repeated use you will get comfortable and will no longer get distracted by the movement.


There are many different types of mediation. 108 mala beads offer an easy, effective way to ground yourself and get the most effect out of any type of meditation practice.


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