Saturday, December 4, 2010

Color Your Way to Calm

Most people are familiar with mandalas, having seen them in various forms from prayer wheels and religious symbols, in architecture and design, even on T-shirts, quilts and patterns on fabric. Mandalas have been used for centuries in the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian religions.

So, what is a mandala? A mandala is intricate geometric patterns that draw the focus of the eyes toward its center, making it an ideal tool for focusing, meditation and centering.

The word "Mandala" is a Sanskrit word loosely translated meaning “circle” or "container" and often known as a "sacred circle”. Mandalas are used in many forms, in many cultural and spiritual traditions, as symbols for healing, prayer and meditation.

Today, mandalas are entering into medicine as a healing tool. Researchers and many physicians suggest that meditation can help to boost the immune system, reduce stress, combat depression, lower blood pressure and help to promote restful sleep.

Mandalas are not something to simply look at or meditate on. One of the ways physicians are using mandalas as a tool to promote better physical and mental health is to have their patients color them.

With the crazy and chaotic Holiday Season fast approaching, we've found a way to not only meditate but to multitask at the same time. Although this kind of goes against all meditation teachings, in reality, you will not only be giving yourself the gift of meditation but gifts for your friends and family as well.

This DIY (Do It Yourself) project is “coloring your way to calm” by creating Mandala greeting cards.

For this project you will need to find some mandalas to print, or purchase a mandala coloring book, a set of crayons, colored pencils, markers or paint, scissors and some card stock, glue and envelopes.

There are plenty of websites that offer printable mandalas and you can Google the keywords to find the printable mandalas or mandala coloring books.

Once you have printed your mandalas, all you need to do is find a quiet place and get coloring. Do not worry about colors, simply go with your gut and let the creativity flow. Once you pick a color to start with, the following color choices follow naturally. Take your time and focus on the mandala as you color, using the part of the brain we often neglect. You will be amazed how soothing and nourishing coloring is and how focused you become without focusing on being focused.

After your mandala has been colored, cut it out and glue it on the front of a folded piece of card stock. Insert your personal, handwritten greeting inside, slip in an uncolored mandala you printed for the recipient to color, pop your card in an envelope and voila! Ready to send.

For thrifty recyclers, go “green” and use a card you already have on hand. Glue a color coordinated sheet of paper on the front to cover the original design, then glue on your mandala. Inside, glue a plain sheet of paper to cover the previous text. Now all you need is an envelope and you helped to save a tree!

Mandala books are a great meditation tool for people of all ages and they require little expertise.

A great gift idea is to purchase some mandala coloring books, a new set of crayons (and who does not love cracking open a new box of crayons?) or a travel sized set of colored pencils. Add your own colored mandala greeting card for inspiration and even your “non-meditating” friends and family will appreciate your creative and unique gift of peacefulness and calm.