A Mala is a string of beads used to count mantras (Sanskrit prayers) in sets of 108 repetitions. The practice of repeating or chanting a mantra is used as a form of meditation.
According to yogic traditions, a mantra is a Sanskrit word or phrase that has special powers to transform consciousness, promote healing or fulfill desires.
Sitting in a comfortable position, with the eyes closed, the mantra is repeated silently or aloud. The mind is focused on the mantra, the thoughts are let go of and the breath is slow and deep.
Hold your mala in your right hand and use your thumb to “count” each mantra by touching the bead during the recitation and then lightly pushing the bead away upon completion and moving to the next bead. The index finger is extended and should not touch the mala. The large bead (guru bead) should not be counted or touched by the thumb and is used as a starting and ending point of the recitation. Continue by pulling the beads and going backwards until you again end at the guru and continue until you have done 108 repetitions, or multiples of 108.
To empower the mala and the mantra used, the mantra meditation should be practiced each day for 40 continuous days. When the mala becomes empowered it can be worn or lightly placed on oneself or others to transmit the energy of the mantra as well as the energetic qualities of the mala.
When not in use, store your mala in a special, clean and preferably sacred space. The best place to store a mala is on a personal altar or statue of a deity.