Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mindful Mandalas

Om-Tastic evenings  at the  Vichara Yoga Studio !!

Just recently I had the great privilege to find myself in amongst the leggings and T shirts offering some evening art activities at Jenny Smith's  Vichara Yoga Studio, here in Hong Kong.

So armed with the fail-safe 8 x point Mandala technique, a pile of fabulous japanese paint pens and some luscious pre-prepared backgrounds, groups of yogini's and some of their children all created the most amazing Mindful Mandalas.

First we warmed up with a spot of Circle Play:

Then we started at a centre point and built outwards towards the edges of the Mandala in guided steps.

There was some chatter and banter, but all in all the atmosphere was pretty gentle as people slipped into the zone of what Jenny calls Present Moment Awareness, as everyone began to design their shapes and patterns, which grew into complex circles of repeated motifs...

My workshops embrace the reality everyone can make a mandala. ....and its true !!!

But what is a Mandala?

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". It is usually an abstract design that is usually circular in form. A Mandala generally has one identifiable centre point, from which emanates an array of symbols, shapes and forms. A Mandala can contain both geometric and organic forms. 

Mums, daughters and sons all came along, I love to watch families create together, as they nudge each other into new design decisions. The focus was intense and people took all sorts of twists and turns even though we all began with the same basic method !


I have noticed that when people haven't created with their hands for a while, there is some caution, some trepidation, some concern about doing it "right" ..... that inner critic is hovering nearby !! Recognise that feeling !

But with this wonderful process, people begin with small steps, which helps them to feel secure with the initial structure and then slowly they start to realise as they use a few basic rules to grow the Mandala, that they can take a few risks, maybe with a colour, or a shape.....
People realise that they are actually interpreting this process in their very own way and making something deeply personal.

Taking steps towards your own creativity feels wonderful, I know it first hand! I compulsively create every single day !!! Watching others encounter that pleasure in themselves, is a real joy for me and I see this Mandala process offering us all such an accessible and rich experience.

Here's the wonderful Jenny Smith as she creates her very own first Mandala....

As an artist who both draws and paints my own Mandalas I know that designing your own Mandala can be both inspirational and therapeutic. I think that the rhythmic drawing process is both engaging and deeply satisfying to me. I use this practice as a way to find my own centre and to bring myself int a space of mindfulness and balance. This slow, deeply meditative art process allows me the opportunity to open to the moment.....I look forwards to it each time I begin a new Mandala. That is why Mandalas are great tools for meditation and increasing self-awareness, and certainly why many different cultures around the world use Mandalas in their spiritual practice. 

 The best thing about designing your own Mandalas is that you have the freedom to choose whatever shapes and colours work for you. Your Mandala is uniquely yours, and you have the freedom to use your creativity to design a something that is fully owned by you.

I have been absolutely delighted that many of the people who attended the Vichara Mandala workshops with me, have gone home to continue working on their gorgeous art piece, they have also gone on to make more of their own designs, and some have left and taught others how to create a Mandala......and so the loveliness spreads forth...

Take a look at these amazing images sampling a little of what came next, I'm sure there are more but this what I have been sent so far..... !

Middle School MIndfulness Class led by Jennifer from HKIS

Little Ones Create forth, led by Kat !

Lastly the littlest one of all, babe inside a Mandala!, also by Kat, painted upon her own tum ! 

Such a plethora of creativity ! I am overwhelmed all you fabulous Vichara Yoga people!! 
Long may you continue to draw and design your own creations  !!!

My next Mandala Journey Art Retreat in March is full, if you would like to take part in a small group Mandala workshop in Hong Kong or England, then pls get in touch with me Kate Flowers straightaway:


Huge Artful Hugs

Katie xxxxxx