The word ‘Mandala’ comes from the ancient Sanskrit language which when translated can mean ‘circle’ or ‘centre’ and can refer to the universe. Mandalas can be found in different cultures across the world and the practice of creating Mandalas is reputed as far back as the 1st - 4th century. They have been used in sacred ceremonies in Asian cultures and are used in various traditions as a tool in spiritual practices from Buddhism to Hinduism as an aid with meditation, mindfulness, enlightenment, prayer, concentration and a tool to focus on the present. Traditional mandalas are created in a square with each of the four sides as a gate arranged around a centre point and is called a ‘Yantra’. They are created by monks and can take several hours, days or even weeks to complete. Using either crushed stone or coloured sand they are created while meditating on your chosen subject and once finished the monks will start the deconstruction ritual by wiping the sand away and collecting to deposit in a nearby stream or river enabling their blessings to be transferred to local communities. The destroying of the Mandala signifies that nothing is permanent as the world is constantly in a state of flux, is changing all the time and is temporary.
During my Mandala classes and workshops we will be creating hand drawn mandalas on card using fineliner pens and pencils. Hand drawn mandalas are normally drawn using a variety of different sized concentric circles with the same centre point and then divided into equal wedged shaped sections. Starting by drawing a pattern at the centre and gradually radiating outwards drawing repetitive patterns these mandalas can be basic or very complex and intricate in design.
Who are drawing Mandalas suitable for?
As there is no right or wrong way to create a Mandala the art form appeals to all ages and abilities. You won’t need any previous experience, technical abilities or specialised tools to start drawing and you can even choose the size you would like to draw. I prefer to draw on A4 white card but if I’m short of time I might choose to do a much smaller mandala on a piece of card that’s only 10cms square, to be honest you can draw a mandala on a variety of surfaces and they can be all different sizes. If you can hold a pen and draw a circle, line, triangle and a square you will be able to draw a mandala.
I am a self taught mandala artist and have been drawing mandalas for over 15 years and have learnt a variety of methods to create mandalas, designing patterns and different styles of mandalas and when I’m going through a stressful time and need some relaxation, I will sit down with my materials and lose myself for an hour or two in creating a beautiful piece of art.
I’ve taught lots of people ranging in age, some complete beginners to others who were looking to expand on their knowledge and I’ve had lots of students comment on how easy, relaxing and stress relieving they found their sessions. If your looking to learn something new, learn techniques to enhance your current pieces or for a group bonding exercise, learning how to draw mandalas could be perfect for you.
Businesses, schools and organisations can benefit from creating calming mandalas as part of team building sessions, which can inspire staff creativity, team bonding and help with focus and problem solving. Drawing mandalas can be used as a tool to create a good mindset of balance between work and play.
Charities, retirement villages, schools and health services can use drawing mandalas as a mindful meditative practice, therapeutic art and craft activities as a weekly or monthly workshop which can aid with relaxation, mindfulness, wellbeing, focus, anxiety and stress relief. It’s also a great way to to be sociable and engage with others while enjoying something that’s fun and suitable for everyone.
What are the benefits of Mandalas?
I recall when I first started creating mandalas and how simplistic my drawings were and I compare them to the ones I draw today and realise how it’s been a personal journey which has helped me to overcome several stressful situations. I know that should I find myself struggling with stressful situations that I have a great tool and the knowledge to help combat stress in the future. I have found that drawing mandalas gives me a good balance between work and play.
Each person will experience different benefits on their mandala creating journey and by incorporating a daily dose of mandala arts can help you to relax and refocus.
Some of my students have given me feedback after their classes on how drawing mandalas has helped them and have listed a few of their benefits below:
Drawing mandalas can aid with mindfulness and wellbeing
As an aid for meditation and relaxation
Increase focus, creativity and dexterity
Can assist to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
Can encourage you to let go of perfection and expectations
As part of a journey for recovery, healing and growth
As a team building exercise and for problem solving
To get involved and engage with others in a social setting
Drawing Mandalas can be therapeutic, magical and fun so pick up a pen and paper and join me for a class or workshop and we’ll get started!
For more information and to arrange classes, workshops or bespoke sessions please email me