I’m pretty sure you have coloured a Mandala before as it gained a lot of popularity in the last 2 decades. So must know how absorbing and calming this practice can be!
Mandalas are sacred geometrical images that have the power to focus and elevate our minds. As we draw or paint or even just gaze at a Mandala, without thinking about it or intending it to happen, we can come into a state of meditation.
Children love to draw and paint with colours, and drawing or colouring Mandalas is one of the best ways to make this favourite past-time into a yogic practice – into a meditation.
The source of the word 'Mandala' is from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit; it means a circular form with a symbolic meaning. The Mandala represents wholeness and life, and you’ll be able to find it in many traditions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Native American traditions, Judaism and more.
Mandalas are circles. The Mandala symbolizes the essence of our existence because you can find it on all the micro and macro levels of life.
We live on planet Earth which is in a constant circular motion around its own axis and around the sun, together with all the other planets, stars, galaxies and the universe itself. In just the same way, we too, like the stars, move in circles of family, friends and community. It is the circle of life!
Every living creature on earth is made of cells. Each cell has a nucleus. This nucleus is the beginning of a Mandala; the central core of the circle. Every atom is a Mandala.
Mandalas exist everywhere around us; in the flowers, in sea shells, in fruits, in snowflakes… Everywhere! Open your eyes and look around you! Where can you see Mandalas?
In everything that has a centre that radiates inside and out, there is this perfection called Mandala.
Introducing Mandalas to Children
- Explain what are Mandalas:
- Mandalas are circles… where do you see Mandalas in the room, or outside of the room? We are all sitting in a circle and therefore we are forming a Mandala, the clock on the wall is a Mandala, the bottom of your water bottle is a Mandala, your earrings…
- Ask the children where they see Mandalas on their bodies? In the eye, face, top of the head, belly button… your whole body is a Mandala. The belly button is the centre of it.
- I show them a Mandala in a flower… maybe a sunflower.
- I bring a kiwi and an orange and cut them in half to show them the Mandala inside.
- Play pleasant and quiet background music and sit everyone in a circle. I find that the most comfortable pose to colour Mandalas in is Child Pose.
- Hand out Mandala colouring pages (choose the level of complexity and intricacy to fit the ages of the children in your class), markers, coloured pencils, etc.
- Guide the children to observe the following rules:
- Avoid talking if you can.
- Don’t look at the Mandalas of your friends (except at the end if they want to show you their creation).
- Don’t rush. Colour your Mandala as slowly as possible; try to be the last one to finish. If you didn’t complete colouring your Mandala during the class you’ll be able to continue next time or at home.
If it’s a summer camp or another situation where I have a class with them every day, we can take a whole hour to focus just on Mandalas, bringing them to completion.
6. Now that you have created your own personal Mandala, you can hang it somewhere nice in your classroom or at home, and use it as a tool for meditation or as a way to focus and relax.
Breathe deeply, gaze at the centre of the Mandala, and let all thoughts or emotions just pass by without following them. Slowly dive deeper into the centre of the Mandala and into the harmony and love it represents.
You can also have all of the children colour one big Mandala together, although it’s less focused than doing it by yourself. Have your website address on the bottom of it and hang it at the entrance to the school!
Creating Your Own Mandalas
To create your own personal Mandala from scratch (as opposed to just colouring an existing Mandala) you will need a piece of paper or canvas cloth or even tree bark, a pencil and colours. You can use a compass, plates, bowls, cups, or even a pencil connected to a needle with a thread to create different size circles.
Find a place where you feel comfortable and play relaxing music. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Think of all the circular forms that are familiar to you from nature. Allow yourself to feel circular movements in your body and even let yourself move with these circles. Let any thought or emotion that comes up just flow through you.
When you feel ready, sit comfortably with your pencil and paper and draw the symbol or form that will be the centre of your Mandala. You can fold the paper in four and reopen it to create four quarters of the circle that can mirror each other for a more harmonious Mandala
Let yourself play with the different shapes; circles, lines in all directions, spirals, flowers, animals or anything else that feels right for you. You can create big shapes and then fill them with smaller details. Create your own unique Mandala – play and enjoy!
You can start the practice of Mandala colouring from ages five and up when they are more likely to have the ability to colour within the lines.
Now all that is left is to actually do it! Please share your creations with us here… ☺