A mala is a string of prayer beads used for chanting a mantra (Sanskrit prayer) in sets of 108 repetitions. The best way to use them is to sit in a comfortable position, with eyes closed and repeat the mantra as you pass each bead through the thumb and middle finger. Once the mala is properly empowered through the meditation process it can be worn. It is recommended to use a new mala for each new mantra. Mala bead strands are made in many different materials including bone, gemstones, wood, and even seeds sometimes. They often have colorful tassels and sometimes even small charms attached.