For centuries, Buddhists and Hindus have used mala beads as meditation tools to help keep count of mantras and prayers. They assist in a practice called japa, which literally translates to "repetition" in Sanskrit.
Different malas are made up of different numbers and styles of beads. Though the most popular bead count is 108, they can also come in counts of 9, 18, 27, and so on. Buddhists malas are often made up of different types of wood, such as sandalwood, and hints of stones such as turquoise. In Hinduism, you will find malas made with rudraksha, which is considered a very holy and protective seed.
Nowadays, malas are popular among the yoga community and can be found on the wrists and necks of yogis everywhere. You don't necessarily need a meditation or japa practice to wear these grounding beads. You can simply wear a mala with intention and choose stones and crystals that symbolize what it is you want to attract or dispel.
From my experience studying crystals and working with malas over the past four years, I've come to realize that the right mala will often choose you. I would say 99 percent of the time, people are inherently attracted to the stones and crystals that have properties they actually need.
But the variety of choices out there these days makes choosing the right mala an overwhelming task for a lot of spiritual seekers. If you feel called to too many styles, stones, and colors, try making the decision a little more personal. Here is a list of malas to complement every personality type. Happy shopping!