Finding moments of peace and mindfulness can be challenge. One amazing tool that has stood the test of time in aiding meditation and promoting a sense of serenity is the mala. In this blog, we will explore what malas are, why you should consider using them, how to use them effectively, their significant role in spiritual practices and how to care for them. We’ll also toe dip into the various types of malas and their traditional uses.

What Are Malas?

Malas are a string of beads, typically made from natural materials such as gemstones, wood, or seeds, often featuring a larger “guru bead” and a tassel. These beads have been used for hundreds of years in various spiritual traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, as a tool for meditation, prayer, and mindfulness. The word “mala” is derived from the Sanskrit word for “garland,” reflecting the way they are strung together.

Why would I want to use a Mala?

  1. Focus and Concentration: Holding a Mala acts as a physical anchor for your meditation practice. As you move each bead through your fingers, it helps to keep your mind focused and prevents it from wandering. Personally I like to lightly squeeze each bead as I move through, spending a moment with each one.
  2. Mindfulness: Using malas encourages a sense of mindfulness by allowing you to stay present in the moment. This can be especially helpful in relieving stress and anxiety.
  3. Affirmations and Intentions: Malas can be customized with specific gemstones or beads that resonate with your intentions or affirmations. Personally I’ve found wearing and using malas can aid manifesting your goals and intentions.

How to Use Malas

  1. Choosing Your Mala: Select a mala that resonates with you and your intentions. Different gemstones and materials are associated with various energies and intentions, so choose one that aligns with your goals.
  2. Find a Quiet Space: Choose a peaceful and quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed.
  3. Set Your Intention: Before you begin, set a clear intention or focal point for your practice. This could be a word, a mantra, or an affirmation.
  4. Hold the Mala: Start at the guru bead (the larger bead) and hold it between your thumb and middle finger. Place your intention in your mind.
  5. Count Your Beads: Move from bead to bead, reciting your mantra or affirmation as you move through each one. Use your thumb to pull the bead toward you moving to the next one.
  6. Complete the Circuit: Continue until you reach the guru bead. Do not pass over the guru bead. If you wish to continue your practice, turn the mala around and continue in the opposite direction.

The Significance of Malas

Malas hold deep spiritual significance in various traditions:

  1. In Buddhism: Malas are used to count repetitions of mantras during meditation, helping practitioners maintain focus and accumulate positive energy.
  2. In Hinduism: Malas are used for prayer and meditation, with each bead representing a different deity, aspect of the divine, or mantra.
  3. In Yoga: Malas are sometimes used to deepen one’s yoga practice, connecting breath, movement, and meditation.

Types of Malas

  1. Rudraksha Malas: Made from the seeds of the rudraksha tree, these malas are commonly used in Hinduism and Buddhism and are believed to have healing and protective properties.
  2. Gemstone Malas: Each gemstone carries unique energy, making these malas ideal for specific intentions. For example, amethyst promotes calmness, while rose quartz embodies love and compassion.
  3. Sandalwood Malas: Sandalwood beads have a soothing aroma and are often used for meditation and relaxation.
  4. Buddhist Malas: These often consist of 108 beads, representing the 108 afflictions one must overcome to reach enlightenment.

Cleansing and charging your mala beads is a spiritual practice that can help maintain their positive energy and keep them aligned with your intentions. Malas are often used in meditation and prayer, and cleansing and charging them can enhance their spiritual significance. Here’s a guide on how to do it:

Cleansing Your Mala Beads:

  1. Smoke Cleansing (Smudging): Use smoke from herbs like sage, cedar, or palo santo to cleanse your mala. Light the herb bundle or loose herbs and let the smoke envelop your mala beads. As you do this, set the intention to clear any negative energy.
  2. Saltwater Bath: Fill a bowl with purified water and add a pinch of salt. Immerse your mala beads in the water for a few hours or overnight. Rinse them afterward to remove any residual salt. The saltwater cleanses and purifies the energy.
  3. Sound Cleansing: Use sound to cleanse your mala. You can ring a Tibetan singing bowl, use a bell, or simply clap your hands near the mala beads. The vibrations help clear the energy.
  4. Moonlight Cleansing: Place your mala beads under the light of the full moon overnight. The moon’s energy is believed to cleanse and rejuvenate the beads. Make sure to retrieve them before sunrise.

Charging Your Mala Beads:

  1. Sunlight Charging: Place your mala beads under the morning sunlight for a few hours. The sun’s energy can charge and revitalize the beads. However, be cautious with this method, as prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may fade certain types of beads or strings.
  2. Intentions: While charging, hold your mala in your hands and set your intentions. Focus on what you want to use your mala for, whether it’s meditation, prayer, or a specific goal. Visualize the beads filling with positive and empowering energy.
  3. Affirmations: Recite positive affirmations or mantras while holding your mala beads. This can infuse them with your intentions and amplify their spiritual energy.

Timing: The best time to cleanse and charge your mala beads is typically when you feel a need for it, such as after a period of heavy use or when they start to feel energetically heavy. You can also do this during significant spiritual moments, such as during a full moon or a specific ritual or ceremony.

Remember that the most important aspect is your intention and belief in the process. Trust your intuition and connect with your mala on a personal level to make the cleansing and charging process meaningful.

After cleansing and charging your mala beads, it’s a good practice to store them in a clean and sacred space, such as an altar or a special pouch, to maintain their positive energy and protect them from negative influences.


Malas are more than just beautiful accessories; they are powerful tools that can help you deepen your meditation and mindfulness practice. By using malas with intention and purpose, you can cultivate a sense of peace, balance, and connection to your spiritual path. Whether you choose rudraksha, gemstone, or sandalwood malas, let them guide you on your journey toward greater self-awareness and tranquility.