The meaning of the Lotus is something very dear to many. In a basic sense it symbolises growth both spiritual and emotional. It’s often associated with rising above adversity and remaining pure of heart. All these associations stem (excuse the pun) from ancient humans observations about how this beautiful flower blooms. It’s unique method of growth, coupled with its stunning beauty, has given it enormous cultural significance. If you’ve dipped your toes in the Yoga and meditation world, you’ll have seen this flower everywhere, like a lucky charm.
“As the lotus rises on its stalk unsoiled by the mud and water, so the wise one speaks of peace and is unstained by the opinions of the world.”
The lotuses significance is shown by it’s ability to grow from the muddiest, murkiest water and rise gracefully above. It blooms completely clean and pure into a beautiful flower, returning to the water at night. Viewing this process must have been so inspiring to ancient peoples that it was incorporated into early ideas of divinity.
The Difference Between A Lotus And A Water Lily
You can spot the difference between most water lilies and lotuses by how far above the water they are. The lotus flower has a long, hardy stalk that raises far above the waters surface. A full grown lotus can have a stalk up to 1.5 metres above the water! They also have very large flowers – up to 30 centimetres!
“In a marshland amongst the crocodiles, there float beautiful water lilies. Even in the Hell, one can find the good and the beauty.”
~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
The meaning of the lotus and the image of the water lily are often paired together. Their similarities are striking and people often confuse one with the other! To make things even more confusing, the water lily is also associated with many of the same ideas of the lotus (purity, peace and enlightenment)! Water lilies are more commonly associated with the cycle of rebirth and creation however. We have some lovely floating lilies that we use for our shop decor. Floating in a bowl of water they create such a serene atmosphere. People tried to buy them so often we had to start stocking them!
The Meaning Of The Lotus In Hinduism
In Hinduism the lotus represents enlightenment and growth. It also represents purity of mind, and performing one’s duties with a pure heart, unhindered by those around you. It is also a reminder that all life began in water. In the types of Hinduism that practice the Chakra system, the lotus is associated with the Crown Chakra. This Chakra is the center of spiritual and universal connectivity.
The lotus is associated with many deities, and you’ll often find statues of the Hindu pantheon seated on them. Lord Brahma, the three headed creator of the universe, is said to have been born from Lord Vishnu in a lotus. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, art and music, is also associated with the lotus. She is often pictured seated on a lotus flower, just like her consort Brahma.
The picture below shows lotus flowers blooming outside Saraswati’s Temple in Indonesia.
The Meaning Of The Lotus In Yoga
The lotus is everywhere in the Yoga community. It’s significance mirrors that which we place in Yoga practice. The desire to rise and find a higher state of being and a purer way of living. The desire to rise from difficult beginnings and start anew from a higher place.
In our lives we have many cycles of rebirth other than the ultimate one. Many times we’re reborn as different people, especially after particularly hard lessons about living. I believe that through regular Yoga, no one remains unchanged. The intrinsic connection between our mind and body blooms like the lotus flower, and we find a better way to be. I believe that’s why lotus imagery is so common – it resonates with what, to many, is the core of Yoga.
In Yoga the lotus pose is one of the most generally recognisable postures. It’s far more difficult than it looks, and is considered an advanced and demanding pose. It puts particular strain on the hips and ankles. Check out these steps if you want to try it! One fact I discovered while researching how to do this pose – it’s considered the best meditation pose for a very un-serious Yogi reason! If you fall asleep during meditation in full lotus position… you won’t fall over!
The Lotus In Yogamasti
We use the lotus symbol a lot in our clothing and jewellery – it’s inspiring, meaningful and beautiful. It reminds us what Yoga is all about!
You can check out our items with the symbolic lotus here. Prepare to be inspired by beautiful hand painted motifs and jewellery pieces!
Is there a symbolic plant or animal you find particularly inspiring? Tell us about it in the comments!
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