5 Yoga Symbols Explained to Deepen Your Spiritual Journey
As we go down our spiritual journey, we will, at one point or another, be in contact with yogic symbols as they are a significant part of yogic traditions. You might have seen everything from blooming flowers to a little weird 30 tattooed on someone's neck, and you might find them pretty but wonder what they mean, right? And why do we still use this symbolism?
5 Yoga Symbols and What They Mean
1. The Om
That's the weird 30 lookalike that you most likely have seen everywhere. And like, everywhere and that's because it's the most sacred yogic symbol. You probably already are familiar with the sound Om, as we chant it at the beginning and ending of most yoga classes. The Om is in reality 3 sounds, A-U-M which together make a vibrational sound that encompasses all sounds of the Universe. When you chant it, you might start to lose the sound of your own voice and feel you are vibrating with your fellow yogis, or even with the cosmos.
The symbol Om represents the unity of the creation, and goes way back to ancient Buddhist traditions. It's sometimes hard to remember that its meaning is much deeper than wanting to show the world your love of yoga.
2. The Lotus Flower
The second most common yoga symbol is the lotus flower, coming from Buddhist traditions as well. The lotus flower, or water lily, blooms on the surface of the water to face the sun, with its root deep in the mud. It represents our ability to overcome suffering and come to a place of light. The petals are compared to our heart; the petals (the heart) open to reveal the divine inside.
3. The Hamsa
The Hamsa, or the evil eye, is a symbol present in many cultures and traditions, including the yogic traditions. The word Hamsa refers to the 5 fingers of the hand, in this case drawn as an open right hand. It's often combined with the 'evil eye' to counteract danger or bad energy. As a whole, it is believed to be a symbol of protection that can be worn as jewelry or hung in the house, usually above doors.
4. The Mandala
The word 'mandala' is a loose translation of the word 'circle'. It represents the harmony or mind, body and soul. There are many different designs and if you look closely, you can see patterns of nature and the circle of life. Mandalas can be used as a meditation as well. If you focus on the center, it will bring more concentration. In Buddhist traditions, mandalas are carefully made from colored sand, that will one day, be blown by the wind. Making it is a meditation itself, but it mostly represents the impermanence of all things.
One of the many Hindu gods, Shiva, is not known for yogis as a god, but as the 'first-yogi'. According to yogic teachings, 15 thousand years ago, Shiva entered enlightenment in the Himalayas and started an ecstatic dance, to then become still. Shiva became the first guru by sharing his knowledge with the human race and now represents the possibility of raising beyond our present limitations.
Yoga Symbols: Reflection time
Knowing and understanding these symbols is important for yogis as it greatly deepens the practice. Is there one that resonates with you more? Or is there another symbol that you would like us to explain?