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The mala is a traditional garland of 108 prayer beads. Each bead represents a truth, and meditating on each bead with affirmations or mantras is meant to bring peace of mind.

Malas are generally made from materials like wood, rudraksh seeds or crystal. A tool of yogis and yoginis for centuries, it can be kept with you at all times as a reminder of the light and wisdom present within.

Using prayer beads as a meditation tool is a practice as old as human history. And it is not a coincidence that they exist in almost every culture: It is believed that prayer beads (or worry beads) have metaphysical and psychological effects on their users. In fact, the beads are believed to absorb negative energies. Buddhist prayer malas are used for counting sacred mantras (prayers), but their main purpose is to drive away negativity and fill you with peace and serenity.

One of the best uses for mala beads is for the recitation of your mantra. (If you don’t know, a mantra is a word or series of words chanted aloud or silently to invoke spiritual qualities.) Buddhist prayer mala beads can be used during a period of recitation, such as “Om Mani Padme Hum,” with the intention of bringing greater happiness, joy, loving-kindness and love into the world.

Here is a simple mala practice:

1. “Gassho” is the gesture of closed, praying hands, held near the heart. In prayer, a doubled loop of mala beads can be placed over the fingers of both hands, letting the strands rest between the fingers and the thumb, while bringing the hands into gassho position.

2. The practice of chanting a mantra while holding the mala is used as a form of meditation. Sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed, focus the mind on the mantra and keep your breath slow and deep.

3. Use your mala with the intention to bring greater happiness, joy, loving-kindness and serenity into the world. It will be a source of deep blessings in your life.

Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. ~Buddha

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