They’re everywhere in the Yoga and home decor world right now… but what are mandalas? They’re certainly more than pretty patterns (though they are definitely pretty!). Today we’re going to take a look at the meaning of mandalas and how you can use them to live a more inspired life. We sell plenty of products inspired by spiritual mandalas, from leggings to door knobs (yes, door knobs!). We even added them to our new yoga bag. The beauty of mandalas is they can be from the simplest of circular patterns to enormous paintings and ‘maps’ of the universe. Mandala patterns are easy to create yourself, and you need no artistic talent to start, just an ability to draw simple lines!
In this blog we’re going to take a look at the basic definitions and meanings of mandalas. Plus the different types of mandalas, including Buddhist Thankgka paintings, and discuss how creating mandalas can be used to aid your meditation and sooth anxiety, plus instructions.
As patterns they’re generally a circular, repeating pattern with a floral feel, reminiscent of the opening of a holy lotus. The pattern creates a kind of movement and energy using interlocking shapes and lines.
What Are Mandalas? – The Basics
Meaning ‘circle’ or ‘cycle’ in Sanskrit, Mandala is a term used to describe a cosmic diagram of the universe. Often based around a repeating geometric pattern, a mandala can also be a chart or diagram. The circular nature and repeating patterns are supposed to represent cosmic unity and inter-connectivity, showing that all parts of the universe are intertwined as one eternal movement.
They can be used to communicate information (for example, the different aspects of the spiritual universe), or guide the eye to focus attention. They can help induce a meditative state and calm an anxious mind by following the repeating geometric patterns.
What Are Tibetan Buddhist Thangka Mandalas?
These Tibetan Buddhist Thangkas are incredible to look at, with adept, intricate work that takes years to learn. The mandala above depicts the six Chakravartins, ideal rulers of the cosmos. A Chakravartin is an ethical ruler, and in the frame of a mandala, a ‘turner of the wheel’ i.e. someone who shapes the universal ‘wheel’. Thangka paintings are often used to convey information and spiritual learning via a mandala, and as you can see they can look much different from the geometric patterns you see on Yoga mats. These are more diagrams for teaching purposes, but still with incredible beauty.
We have these paintings hanging in our bricks and mortar shop and they are utterly stunning. To see the artistic hand in them, in tiny, masterful paint strokes really is a spiritual experience. Human beings have always seen the spirituality in art and skillfulness. It’s not forbidden to talk in art galleries – yet they all seem to have a quiet reverence to them. Perhaps that is the human being sensing that divinity.
What Are Mandalas That Are Just Patterns?
They’re more than just patterns, whether they’re used simply as decoration or not. The act of creating a mandala in itself is a spiritual decision, as soon as you decide to name it a ‘mandala’. The term mandala creates the mandala, and names it as a spiritual design. Often people will create mandalas at Yoga retreats which are intended to map out their own spiritual journey, which is a wonderful exercise. I encourage you to try it!
A pattern mandala is a circular, geometric design. Whether the elements included in it art those of petals and leaves or not, most mandalas end up appearing floral. This is due to the natural mathematics of plant growth. Mathematical road maps like this are found all through nature, and even within us. Once you recognise these patterns, you’ll see them everywhere!Many people believe this geometry to be evidence of divinity, or examples the unity of all things. Mandala patterns themselves are considered to be representations of this.
Mandalas For Meditation And Anxiety DIY
What are mandalas good for then? Meditation and calm! Drawing out these mandala patterns are an excellent way to achieve calm and enter a meditative state. Once you start making one you’ll see what I mean. There’s a reason you see so many of those ‘mandala zen’ colouring books around these days. It’s a way you can flex your creativity and feel better. You don’t need to be an artist to start, either.
How to Make Your Mandala
- Grab a pencil, a pen and a can of soup (yes really). This can will give you the outline for your first mini-mandala.
- Draw around your can with your pencil and find the center point (doesn’t have to be 100% accurate).
- Draw a little circle around the center point
- On a scrap piece of paper, come up with as many different shapes as you can. They could be circles, triangles, petal shapes, stripes or squares. Experiment.
- Starting from your central point, use your intuition to choose a shape to repeat around the center.
- Using any spaces you’ve created, or lines you like, choose your next shape and create your next layer
- Keep repeating layers of shapes till you reach the outside of the circle
- Go over the lines in pen, filling in any little gaps with black, or adding little details to petals or leaves
- You have your first mandala! Don’t worry if it looks a bit rough – you’ll have learned a lot for next time just making this one!
Think about how your headspace and anxiety has soothed after this repetition and creation. Don’t you feel better? Mandalas are easy to make and get stunning results. As you’re creating, keep the meditative mindset and focus completely on the creation of your lines. How they move and flow, how they connect and end. Being mindful this way will help you enter creative meditation. If you like to create a lot of art, mandalas are also a great way to warm up the hand for drawing and painting, as well as an avenue to an inspired headspace.
Get creating guys! Show us what you’ve made!
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