Why mandalas are good for you

Why is mandala art is so incredibly fascinating and profound? Why are mandalas so eye-catching and soothing? Why would you choose mandala art over other forms of art? Why are mandalas good for you?

Let’s start with a little exercise… open the Gallery page in a new tab and look at the mandala that most catches your attention – or simply observe the cropped picture up here. As you breathe, take in the image. And ask yourself: what is it that I’m drawn to? What happens in my body when I look at it? What happens in and to my mind as I contemplate the image? Take a couple of minutes to notice.

A few things may happen:

  • The image draws you in, focusing your attention to the centre, leading it towards the external border and then back to the centre
  • All of a sudden, you find yourself just watching the image with little or no other thoughts
  • You may be impressed by how beautiful it is.

We’ re attracted to mandalas for a number of different, yet interrelated reasons.

Life is made of cycles and patterns. Think of day turning into night, the seasons, the phases of the moon, tides, annual agricultural cycles, animal migrations and birds’ murmurations, and the cycle of water from liquid to vapour and back to liquid through condensation and rain.

In ourselves we can notice the circle of life, the natural journey from birth to death, the circadian cycle, the breath, but also patterns of behaviours.

Following and creating a mandala is a way to represent all these cycles and patterns. These may at first seem discrete and separate but as we contemplate or make a mandala, we recognise their interconnectedness and how each part comes together to create a whole.

Mandalas focus our attention while creating a state of calm in our mind, and often also in our body. Their calming and anxiety-reducing effects derive from the repetition of shapes, colours and patterns in almost an hypnotic way.

Since the middle of the 20th century, mandalas have also been used extensively as a therapeutic tool. They are recognized as symbolic representations of our internal processes, what we deal with and the essence of who we are.

Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated their power in psychotherapy and treatment settings, with a variety of patients and populations [see References below].

Creating mandalas, however, is not therapy. It doesn’t have the goal of finding solutions to daily problems, but through self-awareness it provides a different perspective on those problems. It allows us to step back and observe what is on the horizon of our awareness, how we deal with issues in our lives. And this is the healing space of meditation, of mindfulness.

Mandalas’ colours, shapes and patterns create an aesthetic whole, whose harmony deeply nourishes our nervous system, opening our eyes to the profound experience of beauty and awe. It’s a transcendental experience that connects us directly with something bigger than us, something deeply spiritual.

Through mandalas, we also connect to nature’s creativity through our own creativity.

Working with mandalas is about using art to create a mirror image of ourselves, where all the different parts of ourselves are given space. In this way, mandalas symbolically reveal something about us, something that we may not even aware of. It is process where we are constantly surprised and met by the unexpected. As the pieces come together, what seemed disjointed reflects our wholeness, showing us different and unexpected opportunities.

Participating in a mandala painting workshop immerses you in a process that:

  • is fun, satisfying and unexpected
  • induces a sense of calm and relaxation
  • provides focus and stillness of the mind
  • has calming and anxiety-reducing properties
  • fosters self development
  • promotes a sense of achievement and wellbeing
  • is empowering
  • opens up creativity.

In my many years of working with mandalas, not only have I been able to experience these positive outcomes myself, but it’s also been inspiring to see my students feel the same.

So, if you want to know more about creating your own mandala, contact us or sign up to our newsletter by clicking the Subscribe button at the bottom of the page to receive a mandala to colour at home.

Or, if you are interested in purchasing a mandala (print or original) for contemplation or simply to have in your home or space, please contact us.

 

REFERENCES

Elkis-Abuhoff, D., Gaydos, M., Goldblatt, R., Chen, M., Rose, S. (2009). Mandala drawings as an assessment tool for women with breast cancer. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 36(4), 231-238.

Hagood Slegelis, M. (1987). A study of Jung’s mandala and its relationship to art psychotherapy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 14(4), 301-311.

Ireland, M. S. & Brekke, J. (1980). The mandala in group psychotherapy: personal identity and intimacy. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 7, 217-231.

Kim, H., Kim, S., Choe, K., & Kim, J. (2018). Effects of Mandala Art Therapy on Subjective Well-being, Resilience, and Hope in Psychiatric Inpatients. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 32(2), 167-173.

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