What are Mala Beads?

Mala Beads are spiritual and magical beaded necklaces used in meditation, intentional practices, and as a reminder to live with love, passion, and intention. 

Our Mala Beads are hand strung and hand knotted with 108 beads and a Guru bead, finished with a silk tassel. Each of these components symbolizes the spiritual journey.

The Guru Bead, which is the large focal bead that hangs below the 108 beads, represents the "gurus" in our lives: parents, teachers, mentors, yoga instructors, etc. Here, we give thanks to those who have shaped our lives spiritually, mentally, and physically. 

The tassel in a Mala symbolizes enlightenment and oneness with the universe. It pulls together the individual energies of the gemstones to create a cohesive and balanced whole, making each Mala unique from any other.


The Mala, Sanskrit for "Garland", originated in India over 2,000 years ago, around the 8th century BCE. Originally Buddhists and Hindus used Mala Beads to practice Japa meditation, Japa meaning "to recite". In Japa meditation one repeats a mantra, chant, or intention while gracing each bead of the mala with one’s fingers.

Traditional Malas were crafted with Rudraksha Seed, a sacred seed from Asia. Like the dynamic Earth we inhabit, Mala Beads are constantly evolving in their use, materials, and sacred mantras. 

Why 108 beads?

Mala Beads are traditionally strung with 108 beads as well as a guru bead, the largest and most central bead or amulet which the other 108 encircle, much like planets orbiting a sun. There are many explanations as to why 108 is so sacred to the making of a Mala. 108 is the number of existence. It connects us spiritually through symbolic meaning. We at Malabella love that there are so many cultural, historical, and scientific reasons for why 108 is symbolic to the Mala, and each person has their favorite explanation. 

Here's some of our favorite interpretations:

Numerals – 1 symbolizes oneness, 0 symbolizes nothingness, 8 symbolizes infinity. When combined, they unify all existence as 108.

Heart Chakra – Chakras are the intersections of energy lines along the spine. There are 108 energy pathways connecting to the Heart Chakra, which governs unconditional love towards self and others.

Time and Emotions – There are 108 total emotions that are divided among the three main intervals of time. 36 correspond with the past, 36 with the present, and 36 with the future. 

Astrology – In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 multiplied by 9 equals 108.

Goddess Names – In Indian culture, there are thought to be 108 goddess names.

Sun and Earth – The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

Moon and Earth – The average distance from the Moon to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.


How to Use Mala Beads

Mala Beads are beautiful touch pieces that we may use to set intentions, meditate, or simply wear for beauty and positive energy. 

Setting intentions is an enriching practice in which we declare our hopes, our aims, and our truest desires as a medium through which we channel our energies as we travel to a place of healing and dreams. You may set an intention with your Mala necklace or bracelet and japa meditate with your intention or mantra.

If you practice yoga, you can place your Mala necklace at the head of your mat to instill your intention into your practice, allowing the Mala to absorb the energy and focus of your movement.

Mala Bracelets are great to wear during yoga, wrapping your intentions and yoga practice together.