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10 Yoga Symbols And Their Meaning

List Of 10 Yoga Symbols And Their Meaning:

#1 Buddha

“Buddha” is not a personal name. It is a title given to the founder of Buddhism, Siddartha Gautama (c.563–c.483 BC). The teachings of the Buddha were passed down by word of mouth and not written down until around 400 years later.

Gautama Buddha told people not to worship him, but to take responsibility for their own actions and lives.

Statues of the Gautama Buddha typically show him with half-closed eyes, that is meant to show a state of indifference to the material world as well as a state of meditation.

The depiction of a seated Buddha with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two common meanings. The first is that of overcoming fear, whereas the second meaning represents a shield.

#2 Mandala

Mandalas are beautiful designs usually seen in Buddhist and Hindu history. A mandala can be a painting on a scroll or wall, created in colored sands on a table, or visualization in the mind of a very skilled practitioner.

The process of constructing a mandala is a sacred ritual. It is a meditative process that can take several days or even weeks to complete.

In various spiritual traditions, they may be employed for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.

#3 Hamsa

In its most common form, Hamsa is shaped like a hand with 3 extended fingers in the middle and a pinky finger or curved thumb on either side.

It is believed that the symbol brings its owner luck, happiness, good fortune, and health. The eye drawing often found on the Hamsa symbolizes the eye which sees everything. Nothing escapes this eye.

Early use of the symbol has been traced to ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Over the years, the symbolism of the Hamsa hand spread to different regions and became an integral part of several religions, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity.

#4 Lotus Flower

Lotus flowers are found in pink, white, blue, red, yellow, and purple colors and they grow in murky and shallow waters.

In Hinduism, the lotus flower meaning is associated with fertility, beauty, spirituality, prosperity, and eternity. In Buddhism, the lotus flower is known to be associated with spiritual awakening, purity, and faithfulness.

In Christianity, the lotus is associated with purity and virginity like the Virgin Mary.

#5 The 7 Chakras

In Sanskrit, the word ”chakra” roughly translates to “wheel.” The seven main chakras in one’s energetical body begin at the base of the spine and end at the crown of a person’s head.

The symbol for each energy center is made up of different colors and images, and each symbol embodies the meaning of its corresponding chakra.

Many people have chakra symbols embellished on clothing or keep these images near them in order to keep the attributes and characteristics in their mind as they aspire to have better physical and mental health.

The seven main chakras are:

  • The Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra);
  • The Sacral Chakra (Svadhishthana Chakra);
  • The Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura Chakra);
  • The Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra);
  • The Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra);
  • The 3rd Eye Chakra (Ajna Chakra);
  • The Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra).

#6 108

In Buddhism and Hinduism, the japa mala contains 108 stones or beads for reciting prayers or mantras.

According to Vedic cosmology, this number is the basis of creation and it symbolizes our universe and the whole of our existence.  Also, a custom among Japanese Buddhists is to ring the temple bell 108 times at the beginning of each year.

There are also 108 marma points (sacred places of the body), 108 sacred sites throughout India, and 108 Upanishads (the sacred texts).

#7 Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and he is also known as the Elephant God of Hinduism and son of Goddess Parvati and Mahadev.

He is worshiped first before other Gods in every holy procession. When practitioners worship Ganesha, the qualities and attributes which he represents get kindled within them. Lord Ganesha is easily identified by his elephant head with softly curling trunk.

#8 AUM or OM

AUM is the most important symbol in Buddhism, Sanatana Dharma, Jainism, and Sikhism, which calls the Aum ‘Ik Omkara.’

The Buddhists and Hindus believe that the Aum is a cosmic sound – a sound that first came through at the time of the creation of this universe. Hindus also believe that the essence of the Vedas is enshrined in Aum.

The symbol OM/AUM visually consists of 3 curves, one semicircle, and a dot. Meanings:

  • the large bottom curve represents the waking state, A
  • the middle curve represents the dream state, U
  • the upper curve represents the state of deep sleep, M
  • the dot represents the 4th state of consciousness, known in Sanskrit as turiya. In this state, the consciousness looks neither inwards nor outwards, nor the two together
  • the semi-circle represents maya (a spiritual concept connoting “that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal”) and separates the dot from the other 3 curves.

According to Yogi Times, the three phonetic components that make up the word AUM represent the three stages of cosmic creation, and when it’s pronounced as a single sound, OM represents all of existence, known and unknown.

#9 Mala Beads

The mala is used both in Buddhism and Hinduism for counting mantras, prayers, or chants. The most common type of mala is a string of 108 beads, made of semi-precious or precious stones, seeds, wood, or bone.

#10 Mudras

A mudra is a hand gesture that guides the energy flow to specific areas of the brain. An example would be the outward-facing open palm known as Abhay mudra, a gesture meant to dispel fear.

Mudras function both as symbols in Buddhist art and as actual hand gestures used during Buddhist rituals or meditation. Because of their psycho-energetic effects, mudras are powerful for sending messages to the nerve endings in your hands to the brain.

Moreover, it has been proved that the regular practice of mudras not only contributes to one’s overall good health but it can also be used as a preventive measure.

Image source – Shutterstock

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