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Introducing the Lohasians — The New Face of the New Age

Newsweek introduces its readers to the movement it calls the “Lohasians” in the magazine’s June 5, 2006 edition. According to Steven Waldman of Beliefnet.com, “Lohasian” is an acronym for “Lifestyles of Heath and Sustainability.”

Here’s how the Lohasians are described:

LOHAS consumers (or Lohasians, as they’re called at Beliefnet) represent 17 percent of the U.S. population, according to a report released by the Natural Marketing Institute at a LOHAS conference held in April in Santa Monica, Calif. The study said Lohasians are “dedicated to personal and planetary health.” Seventy-three percent buy recycled-paper goods, and 71 percent buy natural or organic “personal care” products. They pay more to get foods without pesticides and want their cars fuel-efficient. Among the products and services offered at the conference this year were detoxifying pine oil, organic body lotion, ecofriendly spas and recycled-cashmere sweaters. A decade ago, one attendee said, the conference vendor room offered only “broccoli and tomatoes.”

And, when it comes to the quest for “spirituality” –

Lohasians shop just as widely for spiritual practices. From Buddhism: meditation and admiration of “nothingness.” From Hinduism: yoga, gurus, color and chanting. From paganism: an emphasis on honoring nature. From Asian cultures: feng shui and acupuncture. Lohasians devour heaping doses of Western psychotherapy, plus the ideas of the recovery movement (“one day at a time”). They identify as “spiritual, not religious,” and many believe in “synchronicity” or “meaningful coincidences” that might be guided by a spirit world. Does this sound like someone you know? If you have a yoga mat and “singing bowls,” if you chant or do polarity therapy or energy healing, if you consume goji berries or biodynamic organic wines, you just might be a Lohasian.

The New Age movement is a fluid system of mutating belief systems. Syncretism is at the heart of this movement, as the paragraph above clearly demonstrates. The psychotherapeutic movement plays right into this focus on the self as the arbiter of truth and reality.

Here is a list, provided by Beliefnet.com, of what Lohasians prefer.