What Are Mala Beads?

If you are wanting to start your mala journey, but don't quite understand all of the tiny details, don't worry!  We've got you covered.  

  • Why 108 beads?

The most common reason you might here are that the beads apply to the 108 energy centers of the body, pertaining to Ayurveda.  When you use your mala beads you revitalize these centers allowing them to align.  However, there are other relevant factors of the 108. There are 108 Upanishads, 108 chapters of the Rig Veda, and 108 primary Tantras. These three things related to yoga and tantra.  If you explore into the world of sacred geometry, you will find 108 is a very significant number as well.  The diameter of the sun is approximately 108 times the diameter of the earth, and they are also that same distance from each other.  By division, 108 makes many amazing geometric patterns. 

  • What is a guru bead?

This is normally a larger bead than the rest, and it marks the beginning and the end of a meditation cycle with your beads.  In Bhakti Yoga this bead represents the guru or  yogi that you follow for guidance.  The guru can also represent bringing you to the light.  When you set your intention, let every completed rotation feel as if you are moving towards the light. 

  • What are mala beads made from?

 The most common materials for mala beads are wood and Rudraksha seeds.  However, you commonly will also find gemstones on the beads to add in a touch of lithotheraphy and color therapy.  These latter things will aid in giving meaning to your beads.  While sizes may vary for these necklaces, you will most commonly find your beads ranging from 6-12 mm.  While the beads are normally round, at times you will find other textures and shapes included in mala beads.  

  • Are all mala beads exactly 108?

No.  At times you will find half malas at 54 beads and mala bracelets with 27 beads (1/4th of 108).  

I hope this helped you on your mala journey!  Enjoy picking out a necklace for yourself.