Definition - What does Mandala mean?

A mandala is a geometric design, often circular, that symbolizes the universe. The Sanskrit term is loosely translated as “circle” or “essence” in English.

The mandala is used as a sacred symbol in Hindu and Buddhist rituals. In yoga, a mandala is a visual tool that helps focus attention during meditation.

Yogapedia explains Mandala

The mandala is recognizable by its intricate concentric circles and other geometric designs, which are constructed starting from the exact point in the center, representing the beginning or, in a religious context, a specific deity. Focusing on the designs during yoga practice calms the mind, shutting out the outside world and allowing the person to concentrate during meditation by contemplating the significance of the various shapes and colors.

Each geometric figure within the mandala has symbolic significance:

  • Square = stability and balance
  • Star = spirituality and freedom
  • Circle = wholeness, integrity, unity
  • Triangle pointed upward = aspirations toward the universal
  • Triangle pointed downward = aspirations toward the earthly

Colors, too, have meaning:

  • Green = nature, growth and hope
  • White = purity, unity
  • Blue = protection, tranquility
  • Red = fire, passion
  • Yellow = power, light, joy
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