108 bead mala necklaces are worn decoratively but they are also a very special tool for mantra japa. Mantra japa means repeating a sacred word or phrase. You can also practice with a mala bracelet.
As you repeat the mantra of your choice, you can move the beads with your thumb across your middle finger (tradition says not to do it across the pointer finger.) Some people do this while seated in the lotus pose, others when the walk.
Once you repeat the mantra 108 times, returning full circle to the largest or “Guru Bead”, tradition says to rotate the mala so that you are then moving the same beads in reverse between your thumb and fingers.
Why repeat a mantra?
Mantras are infused with grace from the divine or enlightened master who gave it to you. If you haven’t been given a mantra by a living master, choose one that the ancient yogis used to hone your focus for the day, or the sacred syllable AUM.
Mantras help us concentrate our energy and become a living embodiment of the essence of the vibration of the Sanskrit word or words. Mantra is said to be purificatory. It makes sense, if only from the place of keeping our minds off of other thoughts that might “pollute” our minds. Malas absorb energy, so remember to infuse it with love, and the words that have special meaning for you at this time.