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Demystifying Mala Beads (plus a gift certificate giveaway!) // ENDED

Most yogis probably have some idea about what mala beads are, but we’re betting you also have questions you’ve been too scared to ask, lest you reveal yourself to be not the most Zen, spiritual person ever.

What are Mala Beads?

Mala beads are a string of beads used to count sacred mantras in the yogic and Buddhist traditions. Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland. Japa is a Sanskrit word meaning recitation or repetition. Japa meditation is performed while repeating a mantra, silently or aloud, and counted to 108 using a set of mala beads. This combination of chanting a mantra while counting with mala beads is a powerful way to keep one’s attention focused.

Mala beads are seen in many other cultures and religions but are called different names, such as prayer beads, rosary beads or worry beads. Over two-thirds of the world’s population employ some type of prayer beads as part of their spiritual practice.

About Japa Mala Beads

Japa Mala Beads has been making and importing mala beads since 2004. Their unique malas are “designed by an artist and strung by a yogi.” Most of their beautiful mala beads are handmade in the USA. They use the strongest stringing materials available and have one of the best breakage guarantees in the business–108 days (get it?)! All of their bracelet and necklace malas have suggested Sanskrit and Tibetan mantras listed. Using these mantras is optional, but further increases the potency of the japa practice.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the giveaway!

One winner will receive a $100 Gift Certificate to Japa Mala Beads. The certificate does not expire and can be used toward any items on their website, including mala beads, boxes, bags, bead stacks and alter sets! Sounds nifty, right?

To enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Make sure you’re signed up for the Bad Yogi Magazine newsletter (the form’s at the bottom of this page if you haven’t already signed up!).

We’ll choose and contact a random winner on November 3. Good luck!

This giveaway has ended and the winner has been contacted. Thanks for participating! We love giveaways and will do more soon, so keep an eye out!

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  1. Avatar


    October 27, 2017 at 6:58 am

    This is good information. I’ve been looking at mala beads on etsy but am hesitant to buy without knowing who makes them. I like that the beads are strung by yogis. It’s a little extra touch that makes them special.

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    October 27, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Many mala refinements could be discussed. For example, guru beads, separator beads, and which material (e.g. rudaksha, rosewood, sandalwood, various gemstones) is best for which purpose.

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    October 27, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Yay! Thanks for the info and great topic! 🙂

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    October 27, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I love that they include mantras with the beads, I always enjoy a new suggestion for a meditation.

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    October 28, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Looking to expand my meditation practice with malas! Namaste

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    October 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I enjoyed reading this article. Perfect foundation about Mala Beads and what they are used for. Looking forward to learning more.

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    October 28, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I love malas ❤️ I bought my first one in India and I love it! It helps me to keep my focus during meditation 🙏🏼📿

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    Carly M.

    October 28, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I think I could definately benefit from these! 💜

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    Kayla heineman

    October 28, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I leave my mala beads out in the full moon to cleanse.

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    October 28, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I enjoyed learning more about mala beads. I always like learning something new.

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    Deborah Dorchak

    October 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I’ve got two sets of mala beads from Japa. Excellent product and great company

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    October 28, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Thank you. Great article.

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    Heather S

    October 28, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Super nifty! I’m obsessed with their mala beads…they’re gorgeous.

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    October 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    I know about malas and wear them. Now to learn more about yoga!

  15. Avatar


    October 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    It will nice to start from somewhere 🙂 i have never used mala beads before.

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    October 29, 2017 at 6:28 am

    I’ve wanted to get mala beads forever! No I feel properly informed to go out and buy some 🙂

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    Kelly M

    October 29, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Love it when you have such an informative post. Would love to use japa mala beads with my meditation but was never sure what exactly they were or how they worked.
    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

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    Stephanie Markley

    October 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for the information! Mala beads can be confusing. ❤️🙏🏻

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    October 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve always thought they were beautiful! 😍 I’ve just never looked up the mantras. I might have to now!!

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    Megan Hageman

    October 29, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Their malas are beautiful

  21. Avatar


    October 29, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Great information about Mala beads.

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    October 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Thank you. You have many articles that I save the link to so I can have quick reference to it. I’m very grateful for your work.

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    October 30, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I know that 108 is a sacred number. Why?

  24. Chuck Vadun

    Chuck Vadun

    October 30, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Dudes can get mala beads too, in the form of “intention bracelets.” I have a few, and they always remind me of my “intention” to practice every day.

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    October 30, 2017 at 3:49 am

    It’s true that beads are used in different religions too, and they may use prayers or mantras with them. I think that only in the yogic and Buddhist traditions the power of crystals is used to enhance the repeating mantras. 🙏🏼📿

  26. Kaitlin Moran

    Kaitlin Moran

    October 30, 2017 at 6:01 am

    YTT left me obsessed with malas! They’re so calming 🙂 Love this post. Would love to see more people write about japa meditation too!

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    Sarah Olson

    October 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Awesome giveaway, thanks!

  28. Avatar


    October 30, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    “…Dudes can get mala beads too…”
    Well, yeah. If you spend much time in a (Buddhist) Dharma center, they’re used as counters in mantra recitation rather than as jewelry. I have a mala I use for that purpose (I’ve never worn *any* jewelry aside from a watch), and it’s very useful in pujas/sadhanas that involve a lot of mantra recitation.

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    October 30, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Mantra repetition is possibly important in yoga practice. In Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras”, the fourth niyama or observance is svadhyaya, study or self-study. According to Vyasa’s commentary on the “Yoga Sutras” (Vyasa was the first classical commentator and is still regarded as the preeminent one), svadhyaya has two components: study of sacred texts and repetition of mantra. So break out the mala beads…

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    October 31, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I love these! I had 2 and one broke 😞. This is a awesome giveaway !📿🙌🏽

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    Billy Holmes

    November 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Yewww!! Fingers crossed for the win! I’d love some new malas in my life 🙏🏽🙌🏽📿

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    November 2, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I use mala beads as my drishti, helps so much!

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    November 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Would love to win this!! I’ve been reading about mala beads and looking at them online but my student budget has been holding me back from buying.

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    November 2, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Great information. I love my mala!

  35. Avatar


    November 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    This was interesting to read! I enjoy learning new things that could help my practice.

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    November 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Yes, please! Good read, Alex!

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    Mary Rose

    November 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Great info! Thanks!

  38. Avatar


    November 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I always wondered what mala beads were all about! Thanks for a great article! 🙂

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    November 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t have mala beads yet ( bc I am so confused that where can I buy authentic ones) though I really feel the urging need for it to deepen my yoga practice so I think they are no coincidences this was a sign!!!yayy fingers crossed! 🙂 Namaste!

  40. Avatar


    November 2, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Very interesting info! These beads are beautiful!

  41. Lily


    November 3, 2017 at 3:36 am

    Great article! I bought my first mala beads from Bali, but I’d love some that come with a mantra.

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    Mãos Ocupadas

    September 16, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Very, very, very informative and helpful post!

    It help me a lot!


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