What is a mantra?

A mantra—Sanskrit for sacred sound, syllable, word or group of words to be repeated during meditation to help create focus for attaining self-realization and self-transformation.  It is also known as a formula to spiritual enlightenment.

When repeating a personal mantra, the meditator can calm the mind to allow deeper levels of relaxation and awareness. The mantra can serve as a tool to help open your mind to personal self awareness aiding in the benefits of meditation practice.

How is a mantra used with a mala in meditation?

A mantra, for example 'I am strong' is used during meditation by reciting or chanting out loud or whispered silently to oneself while using each of the 108 beads of a mala.  Each time the mantra is recited the meditator moves to the next bead on the mala until arriving at the guru bead (the larger bead at the top of the tassel).  The mantra is a tool to help the meditator stay focused on BE-ing in the present moment and becoming self-aware.  As the meditator chants a chosen mantra the repetition of the recitation helps to to achieve a relaxed state which can lead to the opening of the mind and heart allowing for the path to personal enlightenment which is the ultimate goal of meditation.