How to Practice Japa Meditation with a Mala


Some people can meditate by focusing on something in particular but for others, it is very difficult. Japa meditation is the perfect kind of meditation for them.

Japa meditation is a meditation that involves the repetition of a mantra and focus on that mantra.

Malas help the meditator to count the repetitions of their mantra. Each bead is a repetition and usually one breath cycle. Our malas have 108 beads; it’s possible to do one round of 108 mantra, or 216, or more. The meditator counts each repetition by moving the beads (the Rudraksha) with their fingers.

Mantras and Malas

The repetition of a mantra helps calm the mind and gives a direction, a focus, to our ever moving thoughts. You can choose a traditional rishi mantra like “Om namah Shivaya”, “Om shanti Om” or choose one of your own. It could be “I am love”, “I want peace” or anything that speaks to you.

The mala helps to focus the senses. It gives the body something to do and focuses the sense of touch. There are 108 beads on the mala because 108 is believed to be a sacred number. First, because there are 108 energy lines in the human body, but also because this number is considered to be the representation of the Universe. “0” is nothing, “1” is one object and “8” is the infinite.

How to Practice Japa Meditation with a Mala

Choose your mantra. As we said earlier, find something that speaks to you. Sit down tall with your back straight. You want to be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep.

Grab your mala and take it in your right hand. You should never touch your mala with your index finger because this finger represents the ego. Manipulate your mala between your middle finger and your thumb. With each repetition of the mantra, move one bead through your fingers. You can repeat your mantra out loud or in your head. The 109th bead should not be recited. It is the first and last bead of your mala and represents your diety. Some believe that you shouldn’t even touch that bead, but flip your mala around to continue on to a second round if you wish to.

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