Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Yoga Mat Smackdown: Hindu Man Asks Santa Monica Yoga Company to Stop Putting Lord Ganesha on Its Mats

Photo by A.C. Thamer via the LAist Featured Photos pool
Support your source for local news!
The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

A yoga mat maker in Santa Monica has pulled designs featuring the Hindu god Lord Ganesha—the deity with an elephant's head and a human body—from its yoga mats after a self-proclaimed spokesman for Hinduism demanded it.Nevadan Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has made it his mission to stop companies from using—or as he sees it abusing—the signs and symbols associated with Hinduism, whether it's on a yoga mat or T-shirt. He told the Santa Monica Daily Press, "Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled."

The company YogaMatic, which prints user-submitted images on its yoga mats, found itself in Zed's crosshairs with a design of Lord Ganesha submitted by an independent artist. CEO William Cawley told the Daily Press: "Rather than go into a debate with someone who is clearly trouble, it was easier to take it down. I certainly didn't want to argue about it. Apologies to anyone who was upset. That certainly was not the idea."

Most of the yoga mats feature all the designs you might expect on a mat: landscapes, animals, ocean scenes but also Buddha and the Dalai Lama.

Most Read