A mala consists of 108 mantra pearls, 4 pause stones and a Guru stone with tassel.
You start your meditation at the first gem from the Guru (not with the guru himself).
Here you count 7 pearls with breathing or mentra.
The 8 gem is a break. Here you can just gather your thoughts and come back if your thoughts have wandered.
This is followed by 14 beads with accompanying breaths or mantra repetitions.
Take a deep breath and exhale for each bead. Repeat if necessary. your mantra in your mind or say it out loud.
Now comes another break. Find your way back to your breath if you have gone astray.
Now comes the long stretch. 66 pearls with deep breaths or mantras.
Then pause again.
Now you know that you are on your way 'out' of meditation again.
14 beads with breathing or mantra.
Never continue over the Guru.
Now your meditation is over and you can open your eyes and return slowly.
If you want to continue, turn the mala around by hand and meditate back by the path you came from.
If you want to be true to tradition, then never let your mala touch the ground during meditation.
Really good fun.