The malas we make and sell at Northern Lights Vedic are traditional styles of malas used for spiritual practices. They have 108 beads that are usually in groups of 11 plus a counter bead which makes 9 groups of 12. The bead at the bottom is called a Guru bead. The word mala comes from Sanskrit and means garland.
Malas are used to keep track of spiritual meditation practices such as Kriya yoga. We can use the mala and not have to put mental energy towards counting.
Another important use of a mala is for counting repetitions of mantras. In Vedic astrology there are planetary mantras which help us to attune to the energy of the different planets. There are also mantras such as the gayatri mantra and mahamritinjaya manta which are often repeated mentally and kept track of with a mala.
Another use of a mala is for japa which is repeating the Holy names of God. This is similar to how Catholic rosaries are used for prayers.