The Mandala from the Sanskrit word for circle refers to the sense of wholeness created by circular, concentric forms. It is known as a spiritual meditation symbol in many Eastern religions. The Mandala circle can be used for focusing attention, establishing a sacred space, meditation or even bringing one deeper within, feeling more connected to a source. The idea of creating a mandala represents the transformation of the universe from a reality of suffering to possibly one of enlightenment. By focusing on the Mandala’s circles that represent wholeness, one can find tranquility and healing resulting perhaps in less anxiety and feeling more grounded. The circle with its concentric rings is said to be the very basic structure of many things we observe in the world around us from, the rings of a tree trunk, ammonite sutures, the center of a flower, mountains, ferns, the tail of a peacock, to the tiny nucleus of a cell. Researchers are just now untangling what makes particular works of art or nature visually appealing and stress relieving – and one crucial factor is the presence of repetitive patterns called fractals. Fractals are special mathematical sets that display similarity through the full range of scale — i.e., they look the same no matter how big or how small they are. Fractals are unique in that they exhibit great complexity driven by simplicity.
On Sunday, July 22nd, I will be leading a River Stone Painting – Yoga and Art workshop at Sanctuary Yoga, where we will combine the unique art of river rock Mandala painting with the spiritual art of meditation. By coupling an art activity with asana (postures), meditation and music, we create a multi-sensory experience that has the ability to open your body, mind, and soul for deep relaxation, self-reflection, and self-expression. The yoga and pranayama (breathwork) will open the physical body and allow the thinking mind to slow down while the art experience allows the mind to be less-guarded and less self- conscious as the process takes over.
In this workshop, we will work with smooth, flat river rocks as our canvas. By using detailed and repetitive patterns, or fractals you can find yourself entering into a meditative state. Mandala River Stone painting is the art of using acrylic dots to create intricate geometric patterns and it can be very healing and therapeutic. By painting with dots to make a pattern we begin to get into a soothing ritual, we can then get out of heads, out of the left brain – the analytical side and move towards a grounding, enjoyable experience.
We will begin class with some movement in an all-levels slow flow yoga practice to awaken your authentic self and relax your busy mind. Afterward, we will paint our Mandala on smooth river rocks. This activity is meant to be introspective and calm the mind. Through detail and the repetition of a pattern called fractals, you will find yourself in a meditative state as you paint your stones with acrylic dots. Although we are painting in a fractal way, the activity is meant to be very personal and introspective. We will take the time to notice how we feel in the moment and what emotions are involved as we quiet the mind. Once our Mandala is created, we will have a short meditation using our stones and visualization. Art and meditation can be very beneficial. Everyone is creative in some fashion, no art experience is necessary. All materials will be supplied except for your smooth, flat river rock that you will bring. Look for a smooth, white rock on your walks to the greenbelt, dry creek beds, the beach or the lakes. Don’t worry if you can’t find one, I will have some on hand. Rocks should be a circumference of between 5 – 10 inches. Come and enjoy a great afternoon activity with a friend – sibling- or yourself and create something unique.
Workshop with Leti Alvarez
July 22nd 12:30-3:00pm