A Japa Mala is a string of beads, usually 108 in number, that are used as a tool for meditation. Each bead is used as a counter while chanting a mantra. Japa meditation is used in many traditions worldwide.
Japa is a simple repetition of a meaningful word or a phrase – also known as a mantra. Mantras are typically repeated for a specific number of times – could be hundreds or thousands of times!! The Mala, (a garland or a necklace) helps to focus on the meaning of the mantra rather than keeping track of the number of repetitions during japa.
Japa Malas can be made from various different materials – seeds of rudraksha tree or a lotus plant; wood from the tulsi (holy basil) plant, sandalwood tree, and bodhi tree or, semiprecious stones which can have specific healing properties associated to them.