The Bhakti yoga practice includes chanting the Hare Krishna mantra softly to oneself. This is called japa.
While chanting, you’ll keep the sacred japa beads in a bead bag to keep them clean and off the floor. One side of the bag is large enough to insert your hand. Your index finger comes out of the smaller hole on the other side, to help you hold on to the bag. Place your beads in the bag, and you’re ready to go.
It is beneficial to chant the Pancha-tattva mantra before beginning your japa meditation. Many people like to chant it before each round. This is a prayer to Krishna’s most merciful avatar, Lord Chaitanya and His associates.
“I offer my obeisances to Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all others in the line of devotion.”
If you are going to chant more than one round of japa, then, without chanting on the Krishna bead, turn the strand around and begin the next round.
If you have a string of counter beads tied to your bead bag, you can keep track of the number of rounds you have chanted by moving one counter bead for each round.
Chant clearly and try to hear the holy names with attention. Some chanters find that looking at the mantra or a picture of Krishna helps them concentrate. If that works for you, that’s fine. But remember that the goal is attentive hearing.