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Mala beads, or meditation beads, Buddhist prayer beads, or yoga mala beads, all refer to the same thing. This beaded construction has been around for centuries and is used correctly for meditation, setting intentions, and prayer. Mala beads are a must for yogi master and practitioners, and for anyone who delves into spiritual practices, comprehensively.

History of Mala Beads

Mala beads (also called Japamala) are used in different cultures and faiths around the world, from Tibetan Buddhism to Hinduism. It is also used by the faithful of Jainism, and similar prayer beads are used by practitioners of Taoism and even Roman Catholicism, as is the case with the Holy Rosary. In ancient Shinto culture, prayer beads have been around for centuries as well. It appears that we have always needed a physical guide when setting intentions, and prayer is seen as more structured and, therefore, more active on the whole, when there is a guide like mala beads or counter beads.

The earliest references to mala beads or prayer beads can be found in the Soap-Berry Scripture writing, which emerged during the Mahayana period. There are also references to prayer beads in ancient Chinese culture, dating back to the Eastern Jin period.  Gautama Buddha himself referred to mala beads in a passage that stated that a king should create a mala for himself from the seeds of the aristaka plant.


The main body of mala beads is usually comprised of 108 main counter beads and some spacers. Nowadays, mala beads are constructed out of various materials, from wooden beads to more expensive precious stones. But then again, we must not lose focus of what mala beads are for: these beads are used for spiritual purposes, for counting prayers and chants, and therefore, the tool must be considered unique and must also be treated with some reverence.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that mala beads cannot be worn or brought along with you wherever you go. Mala beads are usually worn around the neck or wrapped around the wrist and forearm as a bracelet. Mala beads that are meant to be wrapped around the wrist are generally longer (three feet on the average) while mala bead necklaces are only 36 inches long or even less.

We highly recommend that you create your mala beads based on your spiritual needs, as you can add talisman and charms to your mala beads to make it reflect your needs and preferences. Each person has a unique energy profile, and not everyone works well with the necessary materials like seeds or wood. Nonetheless, if you can’t make one, we still recommend getting any type of mala beads, you can get your hands on, especially if you frequently meditate or if you are an energy healing practitioner.


Mala Beads Color Meanings

Black mala beads

Black mala beads are associated with personal power, confidence, and self-esteem. These are also used to transmit frequencies that improve potentialities in reality and can also help people stay grounded. Grounding helps remove negative energies and improve the overall outlook of people in life.

Blue mala beads

Blue mala beads are meant for cleansing and relaxation. Blue mala beads are excellent for people who are looking for ways to attain inner peace and health through meditative practices. The blue anchors the user to the power of water, which is cleansing and protective.

Brown mala beads

Brown mala beads are earth-linked and are used for grounding. If you feel fatigued because of the people around you, or simply because your life is stressful, having brown mala beads can help remove some of the negative energies in your system, so you will begin feeling better.

Gray mala beads

Gray mala beads represent neutrality. This is a general type of mala bead construction that is appropriate for both men and women. Like a blank canvas, you can create whatever you want with it, and it will be supportive of your energies and efforts.

Green mala beads

Green mala beads are nature-linked. Mother Nature is a hodgepodge of different capacities and powers. What we would like to tap, are here creative and constructive tendencies, as well as her tremendous ability to develop and heal. If you have dreams that you would like to come true, and you are scarred and fragmented inside, green mala beads are the right choice.

Orange mala beads

Orange mala beads are fire-linked and represent youthfulness, vitality, energy, and the zest for life. This is a robust charging mala bead construction that can increase your brilliance and drive to achieve things. Use orange mala beads if you feel afraid, anxious, or held back because of your emotions or because of past traumas. Unleash your most powerful self with the help of orange mala beads.

Pink mala beads

Pink mala beads are suitable for developing friendship, relationship, unconditional love, and for guiding oneself toward self-love. Pink mala beads are also remarkable for ensuring harmony and for avoiding conflict in different situations.

Purple mala beads

Purple mala beads can be used to expand your third eye and your mind. Since this color is generally rare in nature, it is linked with mystery and the unexplained, too.


How to Meditate with Mala Beads

Meditating with mala beads is simple. You first have to ground yourself and cleanse the mala beads, either with a Tibetan singing bowl or some dried sage. Visualize what you want to meditate on for that session. If you don’t have any particular intention for the meditation, then simply focus on your breathing. The mala beads go onto your neck and will serve as an energy purifier and transmitter.

If you are interested in saying the prayer with mala beads, simply hold the bracelet with one hand and state your intention in your mind. When you are done saying your prayer, move up one bead. Continue doing so until your prayer is completed. The same process is done with mantras. Just climb one bead at a time as you complete your mantra in your mind, or by saying it out loud.