When chanting on holy beads, hold the beads in the right hand. There's one head bead, a bead that's bigger than all the rest. Grasp the first bead to one side of the head bead with the thumb and middle finger. Your index finger doesn't touch the bead.
Chant an entire mantra aloud, while holding the bead:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Then move your fingers to the next bead and repeat the mantra while your fingers are on the bead. Repeat the same process on the next bead and so on, bead by bead till the final 108th bead.
Make sure to pronounce each word distinctly. When all 108 beads have been chanted on, you have chanted one “round.”
In order to chant the next round, turn your beads around and begin moving them in the other direction. Don’t chant on or cross over the large bead. The last bead of your first round will be the first bead of your next. If you wish, you can roll the bead slightly between your finger and thumb as you chant on it.
Focusing your aural attention on the sound of the holy name is the key to proper chanting. We should practice controlling our restless mind by bringing it back from ‘hearing’ wherever it has strayed upon, and paying attention to the sound of the mantra.
Our chanting is an invitation to Krishna to our life. Once He accepts to come, He is our guest. And if we ignore Him by not paying attention, and instead allow our minds to wander, how long will our special guest wish to stay?
We pray for the mercy of Lord Chaitanya and His associates to give us spiritual energy to chant. The following mantra is an invocation that glorifies Them:
jaya sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi gaura-bhakta-vrinda.
This mantra is chanted before starting your rounds and before each round.
Lord Chaitanya said that there are no hard and fast rules for chanting. So you can chant quietly or loudly, sitting, standing, or walking, with your eyes open or closed. The important principle is to hear the sound of the name without distraction.
In this age of Kali there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative for spiritual progress than the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord. [Brihan-naradiya Purana]
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare - these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga.
[Shukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Parikshit]: Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord's lotus feet can also be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by performance of yajna in Treta-yuga or by the worship of Krishna's lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is also obtained in the age of Kali simply by chanting and glorifying Lord Keshava.
[Lord Krishna to Arjuna]: Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa]. [Bhagavad-gita 10.25]
[Karabhajana Rishi to Maharaja Nimi]: In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.32]
[Shukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Parikshit]: My dear King, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age. It is that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.51]
Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit. [Brihad-Vishnu Purana]
The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krishna 's name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself. Since Krishna's name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krishna 's name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical. [Padma Purana]
If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear. [Garuda Purana]
[Shukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Parikshit]: While suffering at the time of death, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, and although the chanting was directed toward his son, he nevertheless returned home, back to Godhead. Therefore if one faithfully and inoffensively chants the holy name of the Lord, where is the doubt that he will return to Godhead? [Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.49]
The pious results derived from chanting the thousand holy names of Vishnu three times can be attained by only one repetition of the holy name of Krishna. [Brahmanda Purana]