“Mandala” is the ancient Sanskrit word for circle and the art of making mandalas has many benefits for centering and contemplating wholeness.  This is a technique I learned in graduate school for the art therapy program I was in that I have used personally and professionally for many years.  Mandalas are becoming more common than when I studied in the mid-80’s and I am glad to see that many people are discovering the benefits of making them for improving focus, reducing stress and anxiety, alleviating depression and experiencing a calm, relaxed state of mind.  In past years of counseling with children and teens, making mandalas was a frequent tool that my clients preferred to traditional talk therapy and one that I found works well with groups too.  It really is a simple activity to start with a circle and a pen at the very center to create a design that fills up the white space.  This one has watercolors added to it but they can be made with any sort of art materials.  There are pre-printed templates for coloring that are a great way to start but I prefer to make my own starting with the empty circular shape. 

There are many books and workshops with professionals available to learn more about this ancient activity that originated in Hinduism and Buddhism where the mandala was viewed as a symbol of the Universe.  Many approaches to making mandalas and common uses of the practice view the mandala as a reflection of the Self.  One book I love is Mandalas by Judith Cornell; and another is, Creating Mandalas: For Insight, Healing, and SelfExpression by Susanne E. Fincher.  There are many more, just google mandalas and try it sometime!


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