The most common mala have 108 beads . The most common materials used for making the beads are Rudraksha seeds (used by Shaivites) and Ocimum tenuiflorum (tulsi) stems (used by Vaishnavites).
In the yogic tradition the beads are used in japamala practice to recite mantras in meditation (hence the name). A full cycle of 108 repetitions is counted on the mala so the practitioner can focus on the sounds, vibration and meaning of what is being said.
Traditional malas are almost always worn on the right hand, wrapped around the wrist like a bracelet. If you are going to wear Mala beads , there are a few rules you should know about. For example, it is not appropriate for your beads , either necklaces or bracelets, to ever touch the ground.
To use mala beads for controlling your breath: Hold your mala with one hand. Let it drape across your fingers so you can move it easily. Complete one full breath (inhale and exhale). Move your fingers to the next bead , breathing in and out once per bead . Finish at the guru bead to complete 108 breaths.
On a rosary there are 59 beads . Their arrangement helps the person to remember in what sequence are the prayers said.
The Meaning of Rosary Beads . The beads of a rosary count the prayers as they are recited out loud or in the mind. Relying on the rosary beads to keep track of how many times you ‘ve said a particular prayer allows you to clear your mind and meditate on your prayer more effectively. People do give rosaries as gifts.
But 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
In yoga, the number 108 refers to spiritual completion. It is why japa malas are composed of 108 beads, why pranayama is often completed in cycles of 108 , and why sun salutations are often performed in nine rounds of the 12 postures (totaling 108 ).
In Buddhism , there are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions. In Yoga, 108 Sun Salutations are often practiced to honor change. For example, to bring peace, respect and understanding at a time of tragedy or to honor the change of seasons.
Buddhists do not always wear their beads , some actually prefer to keep them to themselves and use them only for meditation and prayer . Some Buddhists actually prefer to wear their Mala and see other people wearing them as a good thing, as it all draws more attention to Buddhism and helps people to remain aware.
The term ‘ mala ‘ is a Sanskrit word for “meditation garland.” Originally, mala beads were used for a special style of meditation called Japa, which means, “to recite.” ‘ Malas are used as a tool to help the mind focus on meditation, or count mantras in sets of 108 repetitions.
Mala beads , also sometimes known as Buddhist prayer beads , are long necklace-type tools traditionally used for mantra practice and meditation. Mala beads typically have 108 beads on them (a sacred number which represents spiritual completion) plus a single “guru” bead to signify the beginning and end of a count cycle.
Each bead symbolizes a prayer, and “saying the rosary ” takes quite a bit of time. One must take each bead at a time and recite (silently or aloud) the prayer it represents. Rosaries are not meant to be worn as necklaces , and it is somewhat of a Catholic rule not to do so.
It also teaches the words of the most important prayers. The Rosary Beads are used to help us; they count our prayers and tell us which prayer to say. We being the Rosary Prayer with the Crucifix.