How to chant japa of the hare krishna maha-mantra.

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.