Mala beads are a string of prayer beads used in meditation and spiritual practices, particularly in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The word "mala" means "garland" or "necklace" in Sanskrit, and the beads are often used as a tool to help count mantras or affirmations during meditation.
Mala beads typically consist of 108 beads, which are often made from materials like gemstones, wood, or seeds. The 108 beads are divided into four sections of 27 beads each, with a larger "guru" bead at the bottom of the string. The guru bead represents the teacher or guru, and is used to mark the beginning and end of the meditation practice.
Mala beads can be used in a variety of ways in meditation and spiritual practice. Some people use the beads to count breaths, while others recite mantras or affirmations as they move through the beads. The repetitive motion of moving the beads through the fingers can help to calm the mind and deepen the practice.
In addition to their use in meditation, mala beads can also be worn as a reminder of one's spiritual practice or intention. Many people wear their mala beads as a necklace or bracelet, and the beads can be used as a physical reminder to stay present and mindful throughout the day.