A Yogi's Guide to Finding the Perfect Mala Beads

Discover the meanings and intentions of different stones to help you find the mala truest to your unique, authentic self.

Searching for the perfect mala necklace to enhance both your meditation practice and style can be an overwhelming endeavor with the plethora of stones, intentions, and mantras to choose from. That's why we put together this guide to lead you right to your perfect mala match—the necklace truest to your unique, authentic self that will further your intentions, dreams, and manifestations.

Everything You Need to Know About Mala Beads

“They’re more than just a [fashionable] necklace,” says Jenn Ciraulo, founder of Blooming Lotus Jewelry. “Mala beads encourage a calmer mind, body, and soul. That is why people are so drawn to them.”

Mala necklaces are strands of 109 beads—typically stones, crystals, sandalwood, or rudraksha beads that carry certain energy—traditionally used during japa meditation, where a mantra is quietly repeated 108 times. Wearing the mala as a necklace or as a bracelet throughout the day helps you manifest the power of the stone. And much like a rosary, the beads help the practitioner keep track of their place as they move through a meditation practice with the beads in between their thumb and forefinger (never letting the beads touch the middle finger, a sign of disrespect). At the 109th bead, it is customary to give gratitude to teachers and the most important people in your life.

Why 108? It is said there are 108 reasons why this number is considered sacred in the yoga practice. Some examples include the 108 energy lines that converge to form the heart chakra, 108 goddess names, and the diameter of the sun, which is 108 times the diameter of the earth.

See also Q&A: What’s So Sacred About the Number 108?

Although mala beads are traditionally used during seated meditation, they can also enhance an asana practice. Place the mala at the top of your mat, as a reminder of the intention you are trying to manifest, as you move through your vinyasa.

“Wear mala beads as a subtle reminder during your everyday life,” says Diana House, Tiny Devotions founder. “It’s an armour or protection for confidence. Something you can grab to calm down.”

It is recommended that you wear a new mala for 40 days to form a connection to the meditation tool. Christy Wendrei, founder of Bali Malas, says it’s important to make a ritual every morning of associating yourself with the energy and aura of the beads so you’ll feel the protection, confidence, and strength throughout the entire day.

See also What Are Mala Beads? And How Do I Use Them? 

How to Choose a Mala

Choosing your mala may appear difficult and confusing with so many designs, stones, and colors to choose from, but trust your intuition and let the the power and energy of the stones guide you to the right mala beads for you.

“There is a lot of feeling, intuition, connection, and energy,” says Mary Caroline Cruz, Founder of Open Heart Warrior. “People are drawn to something and they don’t know why, even if they aren’t [aesthetically] attracted to it.”

Often times, people instantly connect with one mala and begin to second guess themselves as they continue to shop around. By listening to your intuition and understanding the stone's meaning, you can find the mala that is most needed in your present life.

See also Hone Your Intuition: 12 Poses to Activate Your Third-Eye Chakra

Mala Beads for Every Intention

See also Give Your Meditation Practice Staying Power: Set an Intention