How to Use a 21 Beaded Japa Mala Bracelet

In translation, japa means repetitive prayer and mala means garland. A mala is a tool for being mindful and the beads are used to count repetitions of prayers, chants, mantras, a yoga pose or to set an amount of time for meditation. This form of counting allows one to focus rather than counting repetitions.

A 21-bead mala bracelet is a small, wrist-worn version of the 108-bead mala necklace.  These beads are to be worn by you alone and should not be touched by anyone else, which can reduce its spiritual energy.   

It has been found that when calm and relaxed, people will breathe approximately 21 breaths in two minutes.  This is the basis behind the 21-bead Mala. Use this bracelet to plan the amount of time to meditate without looking at a clock or using a timer.

The mala bracelet is held in the traditional manner in the left hand.  The first bead counted is the small bead to the right of the largest bead or crystal, known as the guru bead.  Usually the guru bead is not used during counting, but rather the counting proceeds in the opposite direction.

Chant each mantra and then count the beads using your right thumb and index finger.  When you have chanted 20 mantras, flip the bracelet over and count again in the opposite direction, never passing over the largest bead, which signifies stepping over your teacher.  

Complete five full rotations around the 21-bead Mala, for a total of 100 mantras.  This is the same number of mantras completed with a mala necklace.  

There are many types of mantras and styles of counting. Experiment to find the style that works for you.  

Visit The Shop if you are looking for your very own mala bracelet! 


This article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.  

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