While stuck in isolation, we’re all focusing on a few main goals including keeping busy and managing anxiety levels. Originating in Buddhist and Hindu tradition, mandalas have always had a way of helping us achieve both with mindful grace. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health’s Kathryn Costa is here to help, sharing her top 5 reasons to start a mandala practice, and providing a downloading coloring book to get started, no matter where you’re hunkered down:
Relaxation of the body and mind. Given the recent progression of self-quarantining and social distancing, it is necessary for us to find ways to mitigate stress and keep anxiety levels at bay in a rather stressful period. Focusing on filling the repeating shapes with color gives our minds a break, eases stress and anxiety, and helps regulate sleep cycles.
Activation of creativity. This practice requires no artistic background. We use the same lines and shapes - vertical, horizontal, curved, diagonal - used to print the alphabet. Allow this activation of creativity to bring creativity to other areas of your life.
Improvement and enhancement of focus and clarity. Drawing mandalas requires a dedication of focus; your mind is unable to think of anything else. When we reach the coloring stage, our attention can shift to our thoughts and feelings. The process of mandala making allows for self-reflection and the acknowledgement of appreciation, intention or otherwise.
Centering and connectivity. The outer circle of a mandala offers a safe container to focus your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Traditionally, the shapes within the circle radiate from the center. However, a more contemporary design permits freeform and abstraction. Either way, patterns emerge which may reflect the centeredness and connections found within ourselves.
It’s fun! The joy emitted from this practice is perhaps the number-one reason to begin; witness art emerge from your own hands.