Mala or Japa mala are a string of 108 beads that are used to count mantras during a meditation practice. They help to create a focal point so you can focus on the mantras themselves rather than counting. When your mind wanders the mantras will bring you to center. Depending on the specific origin of your practice, you will hold the beads in one hand while you turn each bead clockwise or counter clockwise with your thumb. Mantras can be chanted for 108 counts or up to 10,000 with the use of other counting methods such as rice or bells. Mala is Sanskrit for garland. Mala are often beautifully crafted with gem like stones or Rudraksha beads that are combined to create specific energetic characteristics. Hence, they can be worn as an accessory as well as facilitate a meditation practice.