What are mandalas? How do they link to your yoga practice?
The meaning of the Sanskrit word mandala is circle. The mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. The circular design symbolizes the idea that life is never-ending, and everything is connected. The mandala also represents a spiritual journey within the individual viewer.
Mandalas can take the form of a geometric configuration of symbols or concentric patterns. In various philosophical and spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed to focus the attention of practitioners – as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
The reason mandalas feature in my yoga universe, is because I love to draw them. Not only do mandalas help to concentrate and calm the mind when you meditate on them, they also do the same when you create or colour them. Each mandala I make is a unique mystery to me.
When the idea comes to make a mandala, I always start out with a near-perfect circle and an inkling of what I want it to look like. But before long, it starts to take on a life of its own – suggesting where the next lines or figures should be drawn. Additions arrive as a result of what is already on paper or what is on my mind at that time. The uniqueness of each mandala is confirmed by its imperfections, brought about by the final free-hand borders I add that once I feel the mandala is complete. But my mandalas are rarely fully complete: they merely show the point at which I stopped focusing on them.
I believe we are each like a mandala. We are unique entities, miniature universes, full of complexity. When we focus on and within ourselves in our yoga practice, we can appreciate and wonder at what fantastic beings we are.