10 Must Have Buys for the Spiritual Materialist.

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Spirituality as fashion or lifestyle statement.

Are you a neo-hippie/faux-Buddhist? Want everyone to know how holy you are? Read on!


1. Mala on wrist; never used for actual meditation practice

2. Tattoo of OM (“it means, you know…the light inside of me bows to the light inside of you.” [See comment at bottom])

3. Lululemon as everyday wear

4. Co-exist bumper sticker on hybrid SUV Lexus

5. walk around with PVC yoga mat

6. GT’s Kombucha.*

7. email signature includes “injoi” or “all one family”

8. frequent Burning Man references: “Oh, I shouldn’t go to Whole Foods after kirtan; gotta save up for Burning Man.”

9. Half-destroyed TOMS.

10. cafΓ© accessory: Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle or, cunningest of all, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism book with unbent spine.

Bonus Points

EC: Vision Boards; sage incense; Dr. Bronner’s; Prius; Essential Oils in lieu of deodorant, cologne, perfume; altar on dashboard or sacred stuff/ feathers/ dream catcher hanging from rearview mirror, Dalai Lama or Rumi or Hafiz or Buddha quote book on toilet; live in Boulder, Berkeley, Madison, Lincoln, Lawrence, Brooklyn, Santa Monica or Venice, Austin, Ashland, Asheville, Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Flagstaff; vacation in Belize, Costa Rica, India or Tibet; subscribe to elephantjournal.com

What’d I forget?


Image: wildbindi/Flickr

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Ratingβ€”which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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anonymous May 21, 2015 4:26am

Sorry, i love elephant journal, but i think this is completely wrong and against the website philosophy. Let people do whatever they want…as long as they are ok with it. Who cares.
I have an OM tattoo, it´s a reminder of my journey through India, the same as i have rock bands tatoos and other stuff.
I didn´t like this one…

    anonymous May 21, 2015 5:53am

    Hi Juan,

    We cover all aspects of the mindful life and humour and making fun of ourselves is one of them πŸ˜‰

    With ele love,

anonymous Mar 5, 2015 9:43am

I get the idea of articles such as this, which pokes fun at acquiring all the entrapments of a healthy or well-meaning trend (male beads, Tom’s shoes) all the while missing the whole point of incorporating the innate truth of the idea/practice/activity into our lives. Even so, I think attempting to manifest the idea or appearance of something a person might want to incorporate into his or her life (such as yoga, probiotics, meditation) is not an entirely worthless effort. At least the idea being glorified here is health, consciousness, or social awareness, as opposed to the myriad of other pursuits that money could be wasted on that don’t even pretend to help the planet.

anonymous Nov 25, 2014 2:27pm

product placement – v subversive

anonymous Oct 7, 2014 7:43am

How about this one?

11. Judges people by writing snarky blog about "yoga posers."

Get over yourself, Elephant Journal.

anonymous Aug 20, 2014 11:17pm

Regularly used mama, check.
Coexist bumper sticker on very outdated SUV I haul 3 kids around in, check.
Toms with holes in the top from my weird upward curviing toenails, check.
PVC yoga mat that's been colored on with markers and clawed by cats, check.
Bonuses: sage on my altar and essential oil deodarant I made myself.

Bam! Where do I pick up my prize? πŸ™‚

anonymous Jun 29, 2014 10:20pm

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much

about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some

pics to drive the message home a little bit,

but instead of that, this is great blog. An excellent read.

I’ll certainly be back.

anonymous May 18, 2014 2:49am

Hey now, what about people that score on only 2 of 10? Haha funny read. So… where do I buy the spirituality? Over here?

anonymous Mar 29, 2014 3:33pm

Isnt being at peace with yourself reflective of a non judgemental attitude towards others? If it moves you, do it, wear it, live it, whatever you want, its your own sense of peace that matters not how others think you need to show it.

anonymous Feb 28, 2014 4:12pm

Sarcasm and humor are two different things. Sarcasm unfortunately tends to be jugmental and almost bully-like. Why waste energy practicing it?

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 2:57pm

wow this article was fuckin Hilarius!! LOVE IT!!! And for the peeps with the dharma so far stuck up there asses they can't seem to take a joke hows bout cultivatin' a sense of humor!! I mean c'mon!!!!!!!!!! NAMASTE!

anonymous Jan 18, 2014 8:22pm

Second part of my comment: The rest of the article has amusing parts, but I felt called to comment on these aspects because as someone who tries to encourage people to adopt lifestyles that are not destroying our natural ecosystems I feel the need to stand up for quality natural medicine (that being said there is a lot of false natural medicine/ natural living advice to sift through of course, but essential oils and dr. bronner's are the real deal and deserve honoring). Not to mention, spreading awareness of this helps those of us who hate the smell of synthetic, toxic , chemical-laden, animal-tested cologne or perfume!

anonymous Jan 18, 2014 8:21pm

First off, please choose a natural rubber yoga mat (not PVC) so that you are not absorbing xenoestrogens and other chemicals found in plastic every time your bare skin touches the mat (this is not to be more of a snob or a "neohippie"- I just like to watch out for people's health and the environment). Secondly, I do not like that an awareness and utilization of natural medicine is included in a spiritual materialism article (i.e using essential oils instead of cologne, or using dr. bronner's soap) because it feels like a completely unrelated topic that should not be mocked. Awareness about replacing toxic body care products with those that don't harm humans, the environment or other beings should be encouraged and embraced in my opinion . It is already so challenging to get the mainstream culture to adopt such ideas and this part of this article isn't entirely helping with this.

anonymous Jan 18, 2014 7:47am

This is pretty funny, I will give you that. I'm glad several people have called out the error with Om/Namaste. I am a diehard yogi, practicing every day both on and do off my mat. The only I will say here, and I realize it is ridiculously expensive, is that Lululemon is probably one of the best (if not the best) attire for hot yoga. It's also really damn comfortable to wear for everyday attire…this being directly related to the fact that I would live at my yoga studio if I could…and I always I like to feel like I can do a down dog or crow and not have to change out of my skinny jeans and vegan leather jacket first. To be honest, as I have developed quite the commitment to this in the past few years, I did work for the company for a (very) brief period of time. I understand the price points are a touch elevated and, unfortunately yes, there is that whole "I want to be cool like my other girlfriends so I am going to get those black leggings with the upside down omega logo…and wear them every single day of the 9th grade" movement. That being said, as someone who has practiced yoga for many years, in many studios/styles/temperatures…and brand names/clothing types/logo applications…I know what I like. I know what is comfortable for me. And lastly, I know what works. I also love incense, Nag Champa is my favorite, mostly because I often will allow my senses to make decisions for me. Smells, fabrics, foods, artwork, sounds, music and anything that brings me comfort. Those things all contribute to the enhancement of the quality in my life. My yoga life.

Now, to be fair…I love the elepant journal as well. That must fall under some fad, trend or cliché in certain minds…right?

Thank you for your always entertaining and often pretty accurate stories. With Gratitude, a.s. πŸ˜‰

anonymous Jan 18, 2014 5:37am

Fun to laugh at those who are at least trying to make their lives….and maybe even the lives of others better.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 9:49pm

Some people need to stop taking things so seriously and learn to have a sense of humor.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 9:29pm

Holy hypocrisy? While I do find this article incredibly amusing, I find the content to be predictably judgmental and rather irrelevant to, well, much of anything. This could be a great topic for social commentary on our need for the external to validate, thus the baubles and bumper stickers to proclaim to the world the extent of our free thinking, liberal, green and righteous living. Some of us need validation in the form, some of us don't. Really, it's your gig. Live the way you want and try not to be a jerk.

anonymous Dec 10, 2013 7:58pm

At least it shows that their moral compass is pointed in a positive direction, unlike so many unfortunate tattoos, bumper stickers and T-shirts that clearly demonstrate the opposite.

anonymous Oct 23, 2013 11:23pm

You forgot to mention Ubud on the holiday destination list. And "Eat Pray Love" while we're at it…..

anonymous Oct 18, 2013 8:08am

I have to say I relate to a couple of those! Except I have no tattoos and I've never been to burning man, nor do I have any desire to go. I do wear mala bracelets, have 4 pair of Toms and wear yoga clothes daily. But what I wanted to note was, I just saw Enough Said with Julia Louis Dreyfus. Her character fits this description. Her clothes are prana, she wears tons of mala bracelets and necklaces, she looks the part of the buddhist hippie, but she doesn't really act it, which is funny. The wanna be.

anonymous Oct 18, 2013 8:05am

I have a pvc mat πŸ™ where I live (Trinidad & Tobago) that's all they sell here…

anonymous Oct 18, 2013 5:22am

I couldn't live in an un-cooler place: Washington, D.C.
But I do subscribe to Elephant Journal.

anonymous Oct 18, 2013 12:18am

I am not The God, I'm just a God.

anonymous Oct 18, 2013 12:13am

Judge-y much? Sheesh. Somebody’s got a lot of free time on their hands to point out how others are doing “the path to enlightenment” wrong. Live and let live!

anonymous Oct 1, 2013 11:52pm

Can I order my feather and bumper sticker through EJ? Fanks

anonymous Sep 7, 2013 3:59pm

Enthusiasm for Ken Wilber. Narcissistic investment in "second tier" identity.

anonymous Aug 2, 2013 7:27am

I want to add to the email signatures: Peace, Blessings, Namaste, In Gratitude — all when sending a hostile or angry email.

anonymous May 7, 2013 9:25pm

elephant journal is full of a bunch of judgement spiritual phonies…keep passing judgement if that makes you feel better about yourselves…

anonymous Mar 14, 2013 10:30pm

if you need new shoes, why not Tom's? (yes i own a pair of half-beaten Tom's). I keep hearing all this stuff white people shouldn't do, too. Like meditation and yoga. Re-appropriating someone else's culture. Is it better to deprive our own souls from what can be gained from these practices? i'm actually asking the questions. Everything is confusing as s***t. I'm suffering and I have no roots. And the obvious response is that someone like me has no right to complain. Anything I try to do or think I believe seems to be wrong. We're supposed to practice love but if I try to help any one with less advantages than myself then its pretentious or not my place to care, what do I know of their struggles. Its like i'd be more accepted if I followed mainstream f*****d up culture. Please help

anonymous Feb 24, 2013 9:48pm

The Buddha statue that was duct taped to the console of my 1996 Econoline now sits on a smoke-stained embroidered cushion, atop a little bench, under which my wife's shoes sit, and if I remember I sit in meditation for the time it takes the tea-water to boil. I have one of Pema Chodron's books, "The Places That Scare You," but I wear a cross, within a heart, woven from blue and read threads pulled from jailhouse blankets. I've had this amulet since 2004, when a group of Mexican fellow-prisoners gave it to me, and invited me to pray with them. I joined them, went to my hearing the next day, and was released on an ankle bracelet. I was forbidden by the hearing officer from resuming my studies at Naropa. He cited "narcissism and drug use" in the student body. So came it came to pass that I dropped out for the second time from "Buddhist U," and did as I was told, until finally my period of parole ended. I clean toilets and showers sometimes, and move other people's belongings for them. I'm clueless and lost. Far removed from the Dharma and Sangha I can only try to set realistic goals, like finding my shoes in the morning.

anonymous Dec 28, 2012 8:12am

the light inside of me bows to the light inside of you = NAMASTE not OM

anonymous Dec 27, 2012 11:53pm

bahahahahaha! ♥

anonymous Dec 10, 2012 2:09pm

[…] if we provide seven billion people on this planet with the same level of life and comfort, material comfort, as an average American citizen has, we need four and a half planets. But we have only one. So if […]

anonymous Nov 19, 2012 9:21am

I’m slacking!!!! Must schedule trip to India today.

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 6:30pm

[…] me, this book is the quintessential punk rock thesis on spirituality. It cuts through all of the bullshit of spiritual materialism by very clearly laying out the most common pitfalls spiritual aspirants, both new and old, fall […]

anonymous Oct 28, 2012 11:37am

If we are going to mock yoga materialism,why arent we mentioning the fact that there is a western body that says what yoga programs are good by making them pay dues to belong to their organiztion. There are many good yoga schools in India, for example, that dont belong to Yoga Alliance. It is natural to want to create objects, structures and create standards for things. Yoga has certainly come out of the jungles when it came to the US, which is exactly what its proponents from India wanted. I think it does more good than harm to have these structures in place, but yes they are materialistic. The challenge is living a yogic lifestyle amongst all these distractions we have in the modern world: to be with them, but not of them. My teachers say our modern integrated lifestyle is harder than living a sage's life in the jungle.

anonymous Sep 24, 2012 9:28am

[…] all been there at one point or another…we elephant journal readers. I’m sure of it. Whether we bike to work, drive a Prius, compost food or whatever the […]

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 1:21am

I just discovered the benefits of spiritual materialism and it has made my life much more fulfilling. Now I can focus on what is really important, i.e wine, philosophical conversations, women, and my practice, etc. rather than beating myself up about what path I'm on. Thanks elephant!

anonymous Sep 2, 2012 1:24am

So funny! I seem to be lacking terribly, but I do have a laughing Buddha in the kitchen. He pokes fun at my mad housework procrastination skillz.

I empathize with some of the commenters who said they needed their trappings. I loved that OM symbol so much as a teenager. I wore the beads. It helped to remind me to say 'no thanks' to meat. I guess there is a time and place for stuff. We are spiritual creatures in a material world, after all.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 9:26am

a lot easier than saying something nice or constructive. I'm sure this article will make a lot of people feel uncomfortable and insecure.

Btw girls if you have one of these things that's nice and sexy but if you have all ten(and even if it isn't a hybrid suv Lexus) you're way a head of the curve. Keep going upward and onward.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 12:27am

Lawrence F*cking Kansas?!? OK, I see where you're coming from – the triumph of style over substance … but as a Buddhist you'd know that all form is insubstantial, it's an illusion, and that's what Lawrence is all about, illusion. It's a small town in Kansas with enough aging hippies, artsy people and hippie kids to give it a thin veneer of a "progressive" vibe, but in reality it's just as conservative as Topeka.

    anonymous Oct 5, 2013 3:19pm

    On come on… OnlyWest Lawrence is as conservative as Topeka… Though, that's where the money is…

anonymous Jul 9, 2012 9:49pm

How ironic, given that you are posting your writing on Elephant Journal. Hmmm?

anonymous Jun 25, 2012 2:49pm

Shivin Varghese Ah the fad-thingy and commercialization in yoga. Man now there's no escaping to it. Its said that the great Yoga teachers – Krishnamacharya was accessible to all students alike. Two of his boys made it big in Yoga – Jois and Iyengar. But I must that the Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois centre here in India are too expensive for middle order folks here. Ppl like me find it real expensive. Also during my visit to Mysore, I got to hear some folks discussing which mat to buy, which towel to buy. I even came across a western fella who put it on face that "Indian yoga mats suck". Where ppl are supposed to study d philosophy of this science, some crazy folks discuss about Lululemon thongs and Manduka mats. Sad. . πŸ™‚

Andraes Magus Wysebaard LaBob Ahimsa… all I can say.

Carl-Erik Larsson Hva drive hu med?

Tiffany Asch O'Reilly too funny…..the SPIRITUAL MATERIALIST? What the heck does that mean?

Dawn Wesselby Why not Kim doing yoga? (apart from foot placement in pic), when Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls got into yoga (dreadful DVD with Geri basically showing off although credit to her patient yoga teacher) loads of young girls wanted to do it too, some of them would have ended up in classes where it wasn't just a 'gym' class and benefited from the full spectrum of yoga's offering, including philosophy. Who knows how many of them went on to be teachers. Whatever you think of Kim, if it gets young people into class then it can only be a good thing IMHO.

Esmeralda Molly-Subhadra Barrera her Balance is totally OFF…she's about to KEEL OVER from wrong Stance…& her offbalanced SaddleBags are going to make her fall on her arse…hahaha also, it looks like she is just ACTING YOGA POSE***

Raspal Khumra She sells the sex of yoga for the mundane i suppose. Foot on Knee, wrong. Hands not connected, wrong. Slanting on the angle, wrong. Hip curved to the left, wrong. We are all equal and thus can do what we want. I suppose for her its about making money and perhaps she will never really connect to the union of yoga to self and thats is where i think the sadness lays. anyhoo for better or worse, its not us doing it and i suppose we should just do it the way we know how and make it a personal practise to connect too. Peace om shanti, om prana. xxx

Kate Ross Who cares about Kim? Actually the article lacks substance also. I understand what you're trying to say…drawing on predictable indicators of spiritual materialism- all the while being self-righteous and overly consumed with making sure we know you are the real deal. Hmmm what's the difference here? We are what we criticize. Maybe you can take a quiet moment and continue working on your self love before ripping on everyone else with their 10 essentials.
And to all the hater comments that end in peace. Sounds like insecure little school girls trying to act the part but your jealousy and need for validation is coming in loud and clear. Looks like we all have a lot of work to do.

Denise Griffin Blake Judge much?

Michael Taney Does this mean everyone could have an ass like Kim's ?

Marianna Gr I don't know what kind of yoga you guys practice, but in mine we don't sit there judging and talking smack on eachothers tree poses. Grace will lead you to contentment -practice some grace πŸ™‚

Jessica Moore-Irvin Just about to read the article, but her foot right against her knee makes me cringe.

Michele Anello Kim Kardashian is an example of everything yoga is not.

Malia Thompson I see a lot of spiritual materialism right here. I hate this holier-than-thou attitude. Lighten up. It's just funny, that's is. If Kim didn't want to be teased she should have done the pose properly.

Christina Warham She is beautiful

Mike Gervasi that foot should not be on the inside of the knee

anonymous Jun 25, 2012 2:49pm

Reposted on FB, with ironic (to me) image of Kim Kardashian half-heartedly doing a rather-off easy yoga pose:

XX: Isn't this the kardashian fur wearing beotch?

Ali Valley and why are you promoting her?

Lili Madrid The foot on the knee isn't that a big No-No?
Chris Chiles passe'?

Carrie Shelton Ummm…ouch! Her foot is right on her knee…above or below, please πŸ™‚
· Like · 12
Lisa Jorgensen kim kardashian? really?

Heather Bernklau My knee hurts looking at this
Unlike · 6
Jessica Lueras OMG. Come on you guys… she is like all spiritual and stuff (flips hair). But seriously… if she's going to "practice" yoga, maybe she could have someone teach her how to do it the right way? Great article!!

elephantjournal.com Ali, Lili, Lisa, I know it's hard to click a link and read before you criticize what you didn't read…but try it. I think you'll see we're making fun of exactly what you're thinking we're promoting…ie, tld, we're on the same page. ~ Waylon.

Heather Bernklau It's great that Kim Kardashian, or anyone, is getting into a Yoga practice, I just hope they're learning from teachers that teach them not only proper physical alignment (that tree pose is brutal) but also breath work, meditation and philosophy and how to apply it in their lives and open their minds and hearts. So. Yeah more yoga mo betta, but, please no mo' knee injuries.

Also as long as there are Yoga-related products, celebrities (actual Yoga-practitioners or not) are going to be more involved in advertising as Yoga gains more popularity. The least that can be done (if advertisers want to be somewhat responsible) is have ads that show people in proper physical alignment if they're posing haha.

Malia Thompson I think it's hilarious! Nice camel toe too.

elephantjournal.com Belle, we're not here to please. We're here to be genuine. When readers "opinions" are based on the kind of speed that doesn't allow them to consider what they're judging—even a cursory look at the article link would have told them we are in 108% agreement on the commercialization and faddishness of spirituality—we say so.

This isn't a consumer society. This is a community—and "positive" and "negative" but are two sides to the same coin that is respectful dialogue (and disagreement).

elephantjournal.com Amen, Heather!

elephantjournal.com Thanks, Jessica! And Malia.

Lili Madrid Waylon, I don't see how my comment was negative or criticizing in anyway it was a question. Just felt like I had to make that clear. Thanks

elephantjournal.com Lili, you're 108% right, and I was mistaken. My apologies to you!

Crystal Eshanov Back to basics ppl- it's Yoga, drop the drama – OM~

Andrew Valle McClure ‎;-)

anonymous Jun 24, 2012 9:20am

Wow. Tho I appreciate the commentary on the celebrity culture in this society, this seems kind of harsh. Many people take many paths on their own travels. Maybe their first teacher stressed the importance of these things in ritual and that rituals are essential in practicing. I myself have rituals that require some items listed. Does that make me a fake. And if so, a fake what? I know a bellydance teacher who stresses the importance of dressing the part in class. She says it helps a person get into the mind frame and really 'feel' the movement, to become part of it. Maybe these things do that for some. Regardless, it is not our place to decide what is right and wrong for them and their path. All it does is sound elitist and self righteous.
It is interesting that there is a slew of very prominent ads here that specifically cater to these people you mock. Not to mention that for only $52 (almost two weeks of groceries for me) I could have an elephant tote, some stickers and back issues. Yay! Let's throw money at the people who mock us for throwing money around. fabulous.

anonymous Jun 21, 2012 4:47am

Hahahahaha… so f***ing awesome.

I love spirituality and luxury material goods, in a big way. I don't think I'd consider owning or showing off *any* of these things lol, but I know people who do πŸ˜€

This list made me smile, thanks man.

anonymous Jun 10, 2012 5:49pm

[…] Practice your favorite Spiritual Materialism Catch-Phrases. Jai Hanuman! Namaste! No need to know what it means, so long as you say it […]

anonymous Jun 3, 2012 9:15am

[…] met some cool chicks in flowy Saint Grace pants, mala beads secured to their wrists like handcuffs, so we suited up in yogini goddess wear and shackled ourselves with Bodhi beads too. We friended the […]

anonymous Jun 3, 2012 8:05am

Which Madison?

anonymous May 15, 2012 2:53pm

Hmmm…. I see what this article is getting at, really I do. And some of the items on the list are really pretty inexcusable. But it also makes me think about how we all had to start somewhere. I remember feeling the pull of the ohm symbol before I knew what it meant, and how much I loved the buddha candle holder I found at Target before I had ever heard of the teachings. Sometimes, I think, we BUY these things because we are still operating under our social conditioning, but we buy these THINGS because they are speaking to us in the tiniest of whispers. I know, I know, I KNOW that this article is about people doing it for show or through a misguided sense of what spirituality is. But really, it's good to remember that we all start somewhere. And then the Truth or the Love or the Light (or whatever it is you want to call what you believe in) takes over, and we slowly realize that these things aren't it, whether we have them or don't. (Except my beloved candle holder. It's the sh**t.)

    anonymous Jun 24, 2012 7:43am

    Thank you Marcy! I’m having a difficult day. And I’ve been mocked recently for my wanting to study religion and some of the things I am drawn to. This made me feel so much more judged. And shallow, since so many of these things feel so good to me. I actually started to cry at what was beginning to feel like a worthless journey because I’ll never be as “good at it” as the people here. And maybe “they” were right. Maybe my “personal journey” is a joke. And then I read your post. And tho it wasn’t a magic band aid, it definitely helped. I feel like someone actually stood up for me.

anonymous Mar 2, 2012 4:14am

buddhist prayer flags adorning entrance to house (so everyone knows it's a cool house). Americans and Europeans with hindu name like Krishna, Satya, Rhada, Arjuna, Surya, Darshana, Ganga, etc. so everyone knows you've been to the mountain top and had a guru rename you.

anonymous Feb 26, 2012 7:15am

[…] Girl who also does yoga. I love yoga. It changed so much of my inner and outer life. And yeah, I rock my mala beads sometimes. I love my TOMS. I love a lot of the “yoga girl” trappings (PrAna, not Lululemon, sil […]

anonymous Feb 7, 2012 8:12am

[…] He discovered there was no lightheartedness, no humor in the achievement. It was instead serious spiritual materialism. So having tried the extremes of royal indulgence and yogic renunciation, he gave up — and […]

anonymous Dec 1, 2011 11:07pm

[…] is much larger than they expected. I know that was my experience. But when it becomes the lastest trend in lifestyle accessories, and spirituality is something you can throw in your Whole Foods bag next to your Kombucha, what […]

anonymous Nov 25, 2011 10:23pm

Thea T: This is hilarious!

anonymous Nov 25, 2011 9:36pm

Om tattoo..check
Yoga mat…check
No Mala yet, I’m slacking in the spiritual area. πŸ˜‰

anonymous Oct 28, 2011 1:41am

[…] for only those teachers who have proven themselves to be fully dedicated to The Path: teachers who go by a Sanskrit name that they chose themselves, wear more than one set of prayer beads at a time, and will perform full Rajakapotasana with ease at every class whether or not he or she is teaching […]

anonymous Aug 26, 2011 8:05pm

Heee heeee dude, you made my day …this is why i love elephant…..I think the coexist sticker is iNterchangeable with the free tibet bumper sticker

anonymous Aug 19, 2011 9:35am

Love this & can laugh at myself for the things on this list I have….

anonymous Aug 18, 2011 1:46am

Thankfully our traditions are bigger than we are. I started out very much this way and ended up biting off more than I could chew, so to speak. As Nagarjuna said, “Even give poison to those whom poison will help.”

anonymous Jul 18, 2011 11:51am

[…] AM You might enjoy this http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/07/spiritual-wisdom-from-an-idiot/ or http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/07/10-must-have-buys-for-the-spiritual-materialist/ Emma Varvaloucas 11:26 AM Hahah, oh man, I definitely own a few things on that list… Waylon […]

anonymous Jun 3, 2011 10:08pm

[…] Purchase the Ten Essential Items. […]

anonymous May 26, 2011 12:14pm

Oh the red kabballauh string bracket that is now sol in leather at tiffanies. Although some debate the Ted thread Buddhist also wear them. Loved the funny look at ourselves in the article satire is fabulous. Callie

anonymous May 26, 2011 5:41am

Perhaps judgmental, but some big truths in a decade where a lot of Americans are suffering–Americans who can't afford pretty yogi baubles. I was raised in the times of communes and ashrams, with back-to-the-land hippies who didn't have any money. They were really kind, lovely people who went out of their way to help others and tried to live their principles (which was really a hardcore thing to do and most had to strike a balance once the 80s hit). They had friends of different classes, races, perspectives, cared about the earth and education. I know it's now hip to be snarky and "I got mine," but I think it really cheapens what yoga is supposed to be about–unless contemporary yoga is about lululemon, driving posh cars with bumper stickers, traveling to exotic places, ignoring the suffering of those who don't look or live like you, and only hanging with folks who are like you. It's like an upgraded, groovier 1950s America, I suppose. But not judging, of course:). I do have a lot more respect for yogis who are community oriented and try to be decent people. The trinkets and stuff are fun, for sure, but there's got to be more than that.

anonymous May 26, 2011 5:34am

Oh NO! I live in NY and don't have ANY of these things….. I do have a PVC yoga mat. My two-year old niece likes to sit on it and play with her little dolls…… πŸ™‚

anonymous Dec 27, 2010 6:06pm

[…] Why grow up when you can go shopping? […]

anonymous Dec 8, 2010 9:52pm

[…] some kind of Eastern religion. Doesn’t matter which one. Yoga counts, but only if you get an om tattoo. Piercings count). Waylon Lewis, founder of elephantjournal.com and host of Walk the Talk Show […]

anonymous Dec 4, 2010 11:14pm

[…] one is a little too hippie-dippy-trippy for […]

anonymous Nov 30, 2010 7:16pm

I want to go buy a pretty mala. Do they come in red?

    anonymous Nov 30, 2010 10:51pm

    All colors! Made in Tibet! Or, you know, China—same thing since 1959.

anonymous Nov 30, 2010 6:06pm

Reads elephantjournal.com…

anonymous Nov 30, 2010 6:04pm

There's a whole lot of judging going on…

    anonymous Nov 30, 2010 10:50pm

    Good point, but…imho:

    Judging is aok: in Buddhism it's called discriminating awareness or prajna; insight. It's considered simply healthy to know what to accept and what to rejecct.

    Pre-judging is not great. You know, prejudice.

      anonymous Nov 19, 2012 8:51am

      I'm all for judgement in the way that your Buddhism prescribes, but it doesn't need to be publicly pointed out at the expense of the well-being of others. Everyone is on their own spiritual journeys. Why not let them discover these things on their own? People commenting here are only pushing away those who are still learning about themselves, and that neither benefits the people poking fun nor the people being made fun of. Leave them be. They will learn…just as you learn. If you aren't yet comfortable with where you stand on your own journey, making fun of those who are two steps behind you doesn't make you any better than they. Nor does it make you any worse. Bottom line: it's not a competition. Peace.

        anonymous May 7, 2013 9:27pm

        couldn't have said it better

        anonymous Nov 17, 2013 8:38pm

        Yes!!! Beautifully said, Hayley.

      anonymous May 7, 2013 9:28pm

      are you kidding Waylon?!

    anonymous Sep 2, 2012 2:41pm

    C'mon, it's all in good fun! I am sort of embarrassed to admit that i felt a twinge of pride seeing my home city of Asheville on the list. Does that make me a hipster?

    anonymous May 7, 2013 9:26pm

    I concur! Waylon and his apostles need to get lives…

anonymous Nov 30, 2010 5:57pm

[…] […]

anonymous Oct 3, 2010 4:30pm

This is all good, but of course let's not forget some of the real classic signifiers of spiritual materialism:
1. Holy books
2. Popular brand names (i.e. "Buddhism")
3. Titles ("Rinpoche" "Dalai Lama")
4. Fancy robes

The list goes on and on…

anonymous Oct 3, 2010 12:03am

the only thing left out was that 'tolerance' bumper sticker: square with blue field and two horizontal yellow bars.

live in Lincoln?? as in Lincoln, Nebraska? ever been there?

    anonymous Aug 31, 2012 11:29pm

    That bumper sticker means equality not tolerance. Not really spiritual paraphenalia either.

    anonymous Sep 1, 2012 10:42am

    That's not a tolerance sticker. It's symbolizes "Equality" and those yellow bars are an equal sign. Its from the Human Rights Campaign for Equality.

    anonymous May 17, 2014 4:53pm

    i was thinking the same thing about Lincoln, NE. What?? Omaha if anything….

anonymous Jul 20, 2010 2:32pm

Poetry by Rumi, These Spiritual Window Shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyfMm4lgvbg

anonymous Jul 18, 2010 3:29pm

See now, this is what I mean about Boulder. Everyone is so damned good-looking and all peace and flowers and shit. Damn hippies. Come to a nice, conservative place like Richmond, Virginia. We'll have you straightened out in no time. And ugly.

    elephant journal Jul 23, 2010 5:21pm

    ahahaha mwuah

    anonymous Oct 6, 2012 8:34pm

    LOL…I live in Boulder. I'm average-looking & all peace, but lacking in flowers & shit. I'm far from a hippie because I'm not rich enough to be one, like most everyone else that plays that game here. I'm also lacking in pretentiousness, which is probably the biggest spiritual malady around these parts. Some of us Boulder folks are "real". If there is one thing I could pick that's served me well in all aspects of this life experience it's learning to laugh at everything, especially myself. Never, ever take life too seriously. Your comment, Aunty, is a funny one & for that I thank you. πŸ™‚

anonymous Jul 16, 2010 4:01am

I think its interesting the backlash that is happening against the materialism/ popularity/ capitalism of spirituality, yoga etc. I think that if I just focus on the things that draw me closer to my true self then I don't have to worry about the intentions of others "spiritual" journeys. It is just another way to separate and judge each other. Plus then it feels phony to respond "well I'm not phony but they are?"

    elephant journal Jul 18, 2010 5:51pm

    Very "yoga" of you. You judge your food, when you choose to eat organic vs. gmo/processed. Judging can be negative, you're right. But it can also be "discriminating wisdom," or "prajna," as in the Buddhist tradition.

    Spiritual Materialism is pervasive, and twists the genuine aims of spiritual practice into a self-serving ego-strengthening fest. But you know all that.

    Your point is, "who cares, let folks practice and experience their own paths, without having to laugh at them!" I guess I could agree with that.

    The above was offered half-humorously, of course–I mean, I do many of those things, have many of those things. It is, I'm sure we can agree, all about intention or "view."

anonymous Jul 15, 2010 4:59am

In addition to all the above included the expanded list shared by Tee (I thought for a second she had been in my house) I would add the tibetan prayer flags I fly, any kanji anywhere — have them tatooed and hanging all over the house and any fish/dragon/frog feng shui stuff πŸ™‚ I have both the coexist and the believe bummper sticker with two peace signs…roflmao…OMG my list is so long its wrong…but my stickers are on a beat up hyndai that has mismatched doors and a busted out window LOL…my materialism ONLY applies to spiritual stuff I guess in all other ways I live close to the bone — no LuLulemon clothes here… as a yoga teacher I wonder how yogis afford that stuff??? seriously??? one pair of paints is like 5 classes…YIPE

I have a home studio and it could be mistaken for a curio shop πŸ™‚ a decidely hippy gypsy yoga head shop πŸ™‚

and finally I go a BIT against the grain as I live in Scottsdale….I'm sort of like a sore thumb around here….:p

anonymous Jul 15, 2010 4:13am

this is SO hilarious. it totally laughed out loud. how did i get away unscathed? i don't even have a feather hanging in my car or a coexist bumper sticker! guess i have some work to do…..

anonymous Jul 14, 2010 9:59pm

got it all… and sorry you meant namaste: Tattoo of OM (“it means, you know…the light inside of me bows to the light inside of you.” [See comment at bottom])….namaste is the bowing thing…I HAVE an OM tattoo…it's the sound of the universe the sacred A-U-M the…OK I'll stop πŸ™‚ but seriously if you poke fun you must get it right LOL

    elephant journal Jul 18, 2010 11:48am

    As I said in other comments, I got it wrong intentionally…like tattoos with Chinese symbols, thought it would be funnier if the tattoo wearer didn't even know what they were tattooed with, and got the definition mixed up.

    After 8 years of publishing elephant, I'm sorry to say I know what OM and Namaste mean, all too well. Got that down the first couple months–my first yoga class, or one of them, when everyone OMd, I asked what it meant, kinda irritated that we were all chanting stuff without any explanation. The teacher looked at me, knowing I was Buddhist, and said, c'mon, but then went on to explain it anyway. One of the defs of Spiritual Materialism is the "spiritualish" aping (or changing, or wearing) of symbols, words, that you don't even bother to learn and practice what they mean.

      anonymous Feb 23, 2012 10:05pm

      Like! And just noticed the absence of the thumbs down…. like even more. It was starting to feel like the 5th grade cafeteria in here.

elephant journal Jul 12, 2010 8:20pm

via http://www.twitter.com/elephantjournal – RT @carolann3888: RT @elephantjournal: Made ur $$$ off corporate world, ready 2 get spiritual? Ur go-to guide: http://bit.ly/aeMh8Q

anonymous Jul 12, 2010 1:06pm

This is great. love the video.

anonymous Jul 12, 2010 4:30am

In the list of cities, you left out Northampton / Amherst MA.

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 11:26pm

why leave Texas? you've got Austin! ; )

    anonymous Feb 24, 2014 3:00pm

    yeah Austin is da bomb!! For realz it is one of the most progressive cities in america!

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 10:29pm

Thank you for listing the cities I should check out when I get the heck out of texas.

    anonymous Dec 28, 2012 3:41am

    What about Austin? That's in the listing and a great TX city πŸ™‚

      anonymous Oct 18, 2013 2:46pm

      What about Santa Cruz?

      anonymous Dec 11, 2013 7:11am

      It is a great city that happens to be in TX. Keeping it weird!

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 9:29pm

I feel comfortable enough in my beliefs that I don't have to defend them; this list is amusing, especially when you start thinking, as I said, about how many spiritual "baubles" we have. As soon as we start thinking that, "Yeah, I have them, but I'm not one of those pretentious snobs", though, we become the pretentious snob.

Look at the commentary this humor has sparked…that alone has created an awareness of what we surround ourselves with, and what is truly important and what is not.

    anonymous Apr 13, 2012 3:41pm

    PVC yoga mat is something I still have since my first yoga class…

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 8:51pm

Hey now, dude, that's some fuckin' awesome shit like I bought one o' them mala bracelets in the parking lot at at Bonnaroo last year and it's made me like a waaaaay more spiritual person and that Chogram Chunkra book's awesome cuz my bro had it in his van at Burning Man and we were crankin' up this kind Phish tape n' rollin' fatties o' this totally kind Humbolt on it and started totally like trippin' out n' shit lookin' at that awesome picture on the cover. I can hardly wait to check out some Lulemon and Kobuchka and shit.

all one family

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 6:10pm

It's Altar not Alter, Waldorf Schooling? πŸ™‚

    elephant journal Jul 12, 2010 2:46am

    Good god, my bad! No such excuse!

    anonymous Oct 20, 2014 11:06pm

    where did you see alter? I only read altar.

elephant journal Jul 11, 2010 11:13pm

Via twitter: RT @alexandthenews: @waylonlewis i almost forgot 4 your list- tibetan prayer flags are a must on that list. #hippyhip http://bit.ly/aeMh8Q

    elephant journal Jul 11, 2010 11:17pm

    Alex helped me come up with half of these, props!

anonymous Jul 11, 2010 4:42pm

Excellent and FUNNY!

(though I think you perhaps may've meant a tattoo of "namaste" instead of om?)

We Christians have the same sort of pseudo/faux/shallow spirituality phenomenon in our circles too; e.g. fish emblem on back bumper of car; cross and/or rosaries hanging from driver's mirror; plastic saints, jesus, and/or mary on the dashboard; saying an assortment of vapid religious platitudes as fillers in conversations; … and this list goes on too. : P

    elephant journal Jul 11, 2010 11:10pm

    I meant om: thought it would be funnier if the tattoo-ee got the meaning mixed up with that other uber-cliche of peace-lovers everwhere: namaste.

      anonymous Jul 12, 2010 5:24am

      Oh, LOL! Well, that does make it even funnier! : D

    elephant journal Jul 11, 2010 11:10pm

    You should do a Christian list, Reverend!

      anonymous Dec 10, 2013 8:07pm

      Yes, yes, do a Christian list!!!! We have LOTS of spiritual geegaws to choose from!

    anonymous Jul 15, 2010 6:38am

    What a shitty bunch of hippies. HAHA!

    anonymous Apr 13, 2012 3:40pm

    Christianity and yoga are not mutually exclusive.

elephant journal Jul 12, 2010 2:47am

Hey, this list isn't meant to be too serious…I have many of these things…it's more in spirit of making fun of ourselves, and remembering what all these "spiritual" things are for…

anonymous Nov 26, 2011 4:36pm

Where can I get a buddha for my bike??

anonymous Mar 3, 2012 12:07pm

unless you read all the "holy" books as part of your education in comparative religion or anthropology.

Mari FeijoΓ³ Sep 2, 2018 4:45pm

Brilliant! Specially the first 2.

Steve Shaver Jul 30, 2017 1:34pm

It is still true. The one with the most balls wins.

Paul Falvo May 12, 2017 2:45am

Love it - I nearly choked on my herbal tea!