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How-To Make a Mala

The Ultimate How-To Guide in Making a Mala or Meditation Beads

Hand holding mala beads
Hand holding mala beads

Step 1: Order your materials

There are a few key pieces you need in order to make a mala necklace or meditation beads. First, you need to get your mala or meditation beads (you will need 108 beads). It is important that you also get beads that have pre-drilled holes that will make it easier to string. You can get these beads here. You will also need one bigger bead (which is known as the Guru bead). You can get a Guru bead here.

You will also need thread or string for your beads. I recommend getting the string from here. Lastly, you will need a tassle. You can get a tassle here.

Step 2: Sort and string your beads.

Mala beads on towel

Lay out a towel or blanket and pour out your beads. You can choose a pattern with the different colors or just keep it all one color. Count 108 beads and 1 guru bead (if you are using marker beads, use them in even spacing and only use 108 total beads not including the guru bead.)

Then begin stringing the beads. Leave enough space so that the beads don't fall through the end of your string. Some mala necklaces have a tiny additional knot between each bead, but that is not necessary! Do it if you would like and leave it out if you don't want it. At the end of your thread, tie knots at each end. You may need to tie a couple of knots so that the beads don't slide through. String your guru or largest bead by placing both ends of string through the guru bead. The guru bead should join the necklace together so it is one large loop. Tie the tassle on and make some additional knots to keep everything together.

making mala necklace

Step 3: Set your Intention

One of the most important steps in making your mala is to set your intention. I like to pick a single word for my mala. This word should come relatively quickly to you. Examples can be "freedom", "clarity", "forgiveness", etc. After you have set your intention, I like to perform a little ceremony with my mala. This can look different for every person, but I like to cleanse it with some sage/palo santo, hold it to my heart, and envision my chosen word being implemented into my mala.

Step Four: Use your mala.

I like to use my mala in my meditation practice. I hold the mala between my thumb and middle finger (it is traditional practice not to use your pointer finger.) I hold a single bead at a time between my two fingers and repeat my chosen word. After I say the word (either out loud or silently), then I move to the next bead. This means you will say your word a total of 108 times. Sometimes it goes by very quickly, and sometimes not. Repeat if you would like, or close your practice after one round.

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