The Meaning Behind a Broken Mala

Every year, we receive a few messages from customers stating their Mala has broken. Very few of our Malas break, but if, and when, this happens, it can be devastating. 

In Western culture, breaking something - especially a piece of jewelry - is considered a negative experience. Most of us take our broken jewelry to a jeweler to have it fixed so we can wear it again. Especially if it was expensive. 

Breaking a Mala is not the same a breaking a gold chain necklace or losing the backs of your earrings. Traditionally, this type of break symbolizes that you have broken through a karmic cycle or pattern you were working through. For instance, if the intention you set for your Mala was forgiveness of self, it is believed that your Mala would break when you have finally, truly forgiven yourself and moved forward. 

In this way, a broken Mala is not a negative experience. It symbolizes rebirth, growth, and new life. It's a cause for celebration! 

What Should I Do If I Break My Mala? 

If you break a Mala you have deeply bonded with, it is important to cleanse this piece to invite and welcome a new beginning. We recommend using sunlight, sound, smudging (saging), and prayer. During prayer, thank the higher power you believe in for your recent transformation and pay tribute to your Mala for helping you achieve this milestone. Ritual is very powerful and will help set you on a positive path after the break. 

What Do I Do Now? 

At this point, we encourage you to purchase a new Mala and set a new intention. The previous Mala you wore served its purpose, and the break now leaves room for a new beginning and new realizations.

If, however, you do not believe in this process and would prefer to have your Mala back, we would be happy to restring it for you. You can learn more about Mala restrings on our FAQ page. 


Have you recently broken a Mala? We'd love to hear about your experience. Comment below to share your story. 

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  • I recently purchased a Mala a week ago and today one of the beads broke off. The string is still intact and other than the one missing bead, the Mala looks the same. Is it still considered a “broken mala” when only one bead breaks off? If so what should I do?

    Sage on
  • I just completed 200-hr. yoga teacher training in June. We received malas for meditation in the fall and I’ve continued to use mine, a little sporadically as we moved on to different meditations. Occasionally I feel drawn to wearing my mala, and I did so when I taught a charity class at the studio July 5th, my first public class. The class went well, I felt. At the very end of class, just as I was getting up from my mat, my mala let go. There are knots between beads, so it just released gently, rather than sending beads cascading. There had been zero stress on it — it would be much more likely to break while I rolled through the beads in meditation. I thought, “Isn’t that funny, that it let go at exactly that moment.” I thought I’d restring it and was looking for instructions. In the search results, however, I saw content about the significance of a mala breaking. Given the traditional meaning of the mala breakage signifying the end of a karmic cycle, it seems particularly meaningful to have occurred just as I finished teaching a karma class. :)

    Ivy Wigmore on

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