Monday, December 29, 2014

The joy of mandalas (a tutorial)

There's a beautiful mandala painted on one of the walls at the yoga studio where I practice. The design captivated my attention and drew me in the first time I saw it! In fact, I liked it so much that I started looking around for information on mandalas and specifically, tips on how to draw my own.


Part of my yoga teacher training graduation package included sharing an example of how I practice yoga off the mat. My original idea for that assignment was to compile my yoga blog posts into a booklet...but then I drew my first mandala. There's nothing like the meditative zone I find while being creative - it really is equivalent to yoga off the mat for me.

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 1.2 ~ Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah ~ Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.


I decided to teach my fellow classmates how to draw a mandala for my final graduation project. We moved from the main classroom over to the one with the mandala on the wall for my presentation, and I loved the way my classmates honored me by participating so intently.

 Today I'm sharing a brief tutorial on how to draw your own mandala.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means circle. In a nutshell, mandalas have been used for centuries as sacred symbols in many cultures. They are commonly used as meditation/prayer tools by either gazing at a mandala that someone else has drawn, or by creating your own.

My rendition of how to draw a mandala and suggestions for how you can use it are my thoughts and observations after sifting through a whole bunch of mandala information. It's optional, but highly recommended, to think of an intention to hold while you create your mandala. Think of something you want in your life - peace, patience, a new job - and imagine how that would feel if you already had that going on for you.

Grab yourself a circle shape. I used a circle punch, but you could easily use a bowl or jar to trace a circle and cut it out. I folded the circle template in half in a few different directions to provide some grid lines to use as a template. You could also use a protractor, compass, you know - fancy tools...



To begin drawing, I trace the circle on my paper and put a little dot at each of the fold lines to mark my sections all the way around.

Once I have a few grid lines and dots on my paper, I start filling in the blanks. I like to draw lines across the inside of the circle, connecting the dots and crisscrossing - just letting the lines fall into place wherever it feels right.


And then scallops or flower petals around the outside edge...















Fill in or color the same shape all the way around the circle. Just start playing around with pencil lines and shapes, resist the urge to think too much about the process. Let the lines and shapes happen organically...






Continue to remind yourself of your intention as you begin to fill in the blank spaces, turning the paper as you go and continuing the pattern all the way around. You'll find yourself drifting into a flow, drawing lines and coloring in spaces. Therein lies the meditation aspect of drawing a mandala - you become lost within its design and effortlessly drift into harmony and relaxation.


Time was limited as I led my classmates in the mandala session, so I created a simple template as a starting point for drawing. You are welcome to download/print it by clicking here.
PS: The lotus flower watercolor art is mine too. I had PaperTurtle cards printed from Moo.com for my yoga teacher classmates so they could visit here and read my yoga posts if they choose. Hi yoga friends!!! xo

8 comments:

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Very cool, deb! and also very pretty!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Beautiful! I like the quote too. I've been mulling over my choices for One Little Word and one of them is "direction". Funny how it seems to be popping up everywhere today!

Susi said...

Love it! Thanks for the tutorial. I could use a little meditation time. I will have to give this a try.

Beverly said...

I love that your creative/artsy side weaves so well with your yoga side. Your mandelas are beautiful, great class project!

Maria Ontiveros said...

I was going to say that I don't "get" mandalas, but this has really changed my mind. I think I'll give it a try!
Rinda

Sian said...

I found this very interesting because it's really not all that long ago since I actually discovered what a mandala is. Now I know more!

Gail said...

That was so interesting - I've always wondered about mandelas and now thanks to your tutorial I'm going to try making one.

Miriam said...

Thank you so much! all printed and ready to play x

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