Our Tulsi Mala (prayer beads) is made from the Tulsi plant, also known as Holy Basil. Tulsi malas contain 108 beads held together by a sacred thread, along with a "guru" bead which is attached to the tassel. The threads are knotted between each bead. These are the same malas that we share with graduates of the Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training program.
From The Magic Ten and Beyond book by Jivamukti founder Sharon Gannon:
"Traditionally yogis used a mala as a meditation tool, to keep track of counting while chanting a mantra. Holding each bead and silently reciting a mantra is called japa meditation. Japa means "mantra repetition"; you continue to recite the same mantra over and over, using the mala to maintain your focus. When you get to the end of the mala, there is a "guru" bead. You should never pass over the guru bead; instead flip the mala around and start over from the other end.