Tag Archives: malas

Western Yoga Guilt: Should I wear a mala?

Malas:  The New Yoga Status Symbol
via Yoga Modern by

Whether you’re male, or female fashion is a great way to express creativity, and personality on a daily basis.

While I love bringing a sense of style into my yoga practice, I am not so sure how I feel about bringing yoga into my style. 

I have noticed an increasing amount of individuals sporting malas through out studios and community events, and I wonder if they are being worn as a symbol of devotion or merely as a fashion statement.  While searching the yogasphere I came across a mock ad on Yoga Dawg that poked fun at how sacred objects are often commercialized and treated by “western yogis” as trendy accessories rather than worn for their intended spiritual purpose.

The YogaDawg Sadhu Fall Collection

Top to Bottom

Vedic Face Paint
Lotus Joy Premium Yoga Club
Mellow Yellow Chakra Yoga Shirt
Holy Moly Far Out Yoga Bead Set
Mellow Yellow Chakra Yoga Pants

While it is common in the Hindu religion to wear malas around the neck, it is typically used to practice devotion towards a deity. Malas are used to express one’s respect and service to that god, and it’s considered disrespectful to wear the beads flippantly or without intention. Devotees are expected to be disciplined in spiritual practices that are deserving of the malas and the blessings they come with.

For example, many people wear the rudraksha mala in observance of the Lord Shiva. Devotees take certain measures that show respect, including the use of rituals and prayers to purify the beads, and they remove the beads when consuming alcohol, attending a funeral, having sex, and for women during menstruation.

I know very few yogis in the United States who take the same precautions when adorning themselves with malas. Most of us aren’t even aware that such precautions exist. continue reading