You may be wondering how to wear mala beads with so many different styles and traditions associated with them, from Buddhism to Hinduism, yoga, and meditation it may feel quite overwhelming to understand exactly how to wear a mala.
A mala may be worn however you feel most comfortable wearing it. A mala is first a string of beads, a tool to use for meditation and prayer, a necklace, bracelet, or whatever intention you (the owner) has for it.
Here are some tips on how to wear a mala every day, or during meditation, and how they are worn traditionally.
Wearing Your Mala During Meditation
Many meditators prefer to wear a mala during their quiet time while meditating. For some users wearing a mala can provide a sense of being grounded and anchored from all the energy they feel during their meditation practice.
Wearing a new mala for 40 days is one way of attuning your energies with it. This process also provides a great time to break old patterns and build up a good habit of practicing meditation on a daily basis. Wearing the mala as a necklace during meditation can feel comforting and also serves as an extension of your set intentions.
Because our personal energy absorbs into the beads you will want to recharge and cleanse your beads from time to time.
Wearing Your Mala as a Necklace
Wearing a mala around your neck is the most convenient and comfortable way to wear them. Mala beads are a functional piece of jewelry, not only are they a tool for counting mantra, but they are also quite beautiful and feel natural to wear.
An authentic mala will be made of semiprecious gemstones, crystals, or natural wood and seed beads. Each of these types of materials has varied symbolism and metaphysical healing properties. Wearing a mala necklace is a great way to benefit from these energies and work with crystals and stones for your chakras.
You can even layer multiple gemstone necklaces along with your mala to channel the metaphysical energies not only for your personal intentions but also for a naturally fashionable style of your own.
This is how an 8mm mala necklace typically looks when worn as a necklace.
Wrap Mala Beads on the Wrist
There are two types of mala beads that can be worn on the wrist. The first is a mala bracelet, these smaller malas typically have 18, 21, or 27 beads. You can wear one, two, three, as many as you like. Layer multiple bracelets on your wrist and set specific intentions for each mala. Seeing and touching your mala bracelets throughout the day can help remind you of your positive affirmations.
The second way to wear a mala on the wrist is to very carefully wrap your full-size 108 mala beads around the wrist a few times. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly as it could break the mala. Tuck the tassel under the beads or wear it loosely, whichever is comfortable for you.
When practicing yoga be mindful of wearing your mala necklace or wrapping the mala around the wrist as any form of physical exercise could cause the beads to weaken or break if they get caught on something.
Three 8mm sized mala bracelets and two 6mm sized mala bracelets stacked together.
Which Wrist to Wear a Mala? Left or Right
A mala bracelet or wrapped necklace may be worn on whichever wrist feels most comfortable to you. There are no set rules on which wrist is most appropriate.
In India, some cultural practices unrelated to mala beads would suggest you wear them on the right wrist. Tibetan Buddhists wear their malas on either hand, left or right.
Wearing a mala on a certain wrist should not be confused with how a mala is held when reciting prayer, there are some spiritual customs on this you can learn more about in our mala guide.
A mala necklace wrapped loosely around the wrist.
Traditional Ways to Wear a Mala
In certain spiritual contexts, there are traditions of how a mala is worn. In some forms of Buddhism wearing a mala as a necklace in public on the outside of the clothes is a sign that the wearer is a qualified teacher. While other Buddhists simply wear them as part of their spiritual practice.
Some spiritual gurus wear the mala as a necklace but tuck it into their shirts. Others will wrap it on their wrist because it is more accessible to count the beads.
Remember the most important aspect of wearing a mala is to be comfortable and in tune with your personal intentions and goals, a malas purpose is to help you with whatever you set forth intentions for it. Think of your mala as a sacred tool that is worn for your highest benefit and in that process, you will find a special connection to it, wearing it will then become a natural action for you.
About The Author
Heather is an Artisan Jeweler and Certified Meditation Teacher. In 2011 she established Golden Lotus Mala to create jewelry with a purpose for meditation and spiritual growth. Within this blog she shares her experiences about meditation with mala beads, natural gemstones, crystals, and more.