Enlightened Koala has removed a yoga mat featuring an image of Hindu deity Ganesha.
Enlightened Koala has removed a yoga mat featuring an image of Hindu deity Ganesha.

‘Insensitive’ yoga mat removed after religious backlash

A Sunshine Coast-based business selling yoga mats has said sorry for offending members of the Hindu community with one of its products.

Enlightened Koala was slammed by Hindu statesman Rajan Zed earlier this week for selling a mat that featured deity Ganesha, calling it "highly inappropriate".

The Universal Society of Hinduism president said the religious figure was to be worshipped in temples or at home shrines, not to be sat on or used for exercise.

"Inappropriate usage of sacred Hindu deities or concepts or symbols or icons for commercial or other agenda was not OK as it hurt the devotees," Mr Zed wrote in a statement.

"Yoga mat companies should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities.

"It was deeply trivialising of immensely venerated Hindu deity Lord Ganesha to be such displayed on a yoga mat."

The Enlightened Koala mat was removed.
The Enlightened Koala mat was removed.

Enlightened Koala owner Rossana Ruschel apologised to Mr Zed via email and took down the mat from her website.

"The design has been removed from the website and it will be discontinued," she wrote.

"I'm sorry if I cause any harm, it certainly was not my intention."

Mr Zed thanked Ms Ruschel for understanding the concerns of Hindu community, who felt that the product was "insensitive".

He suggested companies should train their senior executives in religious and cultural sensitivity so they had an understanding of the feelings of customers when introducing new products.

The mat was priced at $129.90 before it was removed.

The Daily attempted to contact Enlightened Koala but was unsuccessful.



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