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How to Use Mala Beads for Meditation

We love to wear our yoga, from tees to tattoos to jewelry that expresses our devotion to the practice. Malas—strands of 108 beads plus a “guru” bead traditionally used for meditation and prayer—are part of this, with designers making mala necklaces that combine gemstones imbued with potent energies and sacred meaning to infuse your practice.

Yes, these beads are beautiful and a statement when you don them as a necklace. But what is the significance of mala beads? And how do you use mala beads in your meditation practice? We break it down for you.

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Why do malas have 108 beads?

There are many theories behind the significance of the number 108, which has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism. Logan Milliken, who designs malas for Silver & Sage jewelry, says she was taught that the number 1 stands for God, the universe, or your own highest truth; 0 stands for emptiness and humility in spiritual practice; and 8 stands for infinity and timelessness.

“It offers people a wearable reflection of something in their own journey, so in that way the mala really becomes whatever the wearer intends for it,” she says.

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