Yoga & Fitness

What Exactly Is a Mandala Flow in Yoga? We Break Down How to Create One.

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I nonetheless keep in mind the primary time I skilled a mandala circulation in yoga class. It was comparatively early in my follow, and till that sequence, my follow had been very linear. Academics usually cued us into postures that confronted the entrance and possibly the lengthy facet of the mat, beginning with our proper leg ahead. Then we might repeat these poses on our left facet.

That day, I used to be led by poses that have been sequenced in a means I’d by no means skilled. As my physique flowed in several instructions—all the best way from the entrance to the facet to the again of the mat—what saved going by my thoughts was simply what number of prospects there are to transition by yoga postures.

I had change into so accustomed to working towards in a prescribed means, I used to be beginning to really feel that my follow was plateauing, like there was nothing extra to do however repeat the identical postures and sequences again and again. After I moved by that mandala sequence, I used to be capable of expertise my physique a lot extra intimately and intuitively in these artistic transitions.

I used to be hooked.

What’s a Mandala Movement?

“Mandala” is a Sanskrit phrase meaning “full” or “circle.” A religious image in lots of cultures, a mandala is a illustration of the universe and is usually used for meditation. It’s believed that after you enter the mandala and journey towards its heart, you’re guided by a strategy of transformation that finally results in enlightenment.

When working towards a mandala circulation, you make your means midway or fully round your yoga mat in a round method. Typically, it’s practiced repeatedly. Transitioning from one pose to a different on this method permits you or your college students to expertise a type of transferring meditation. The repetitive nature of the sequence and the seamless transitions create a rhythm that may appear to lull you into one other dimension.

After my first expertise with transferring by that mandala circulation, I vowed {that a} related type of artistic motion can be my signature instructing type.

How one can Create a Mandala Movement

There are two completely different approaches to making a mandala circulation. The extra frequent strategy is a half mandala circulation. As an alternative of transferring solely across the mat, you make a semi-circle by transferring from the entrance of the mat to face the lengthy facet and then you definitely transition to the again of the mat earlier than reversing that motion. That is what I skilled that day and it’s what I educate within the video beneath.

The opposite strategy is to maneuver across the mat in full 360-degree style. This implies you make your means solely across the mat, beginning on the entrance and transitioning to face one lengthy facet of the mat after which the again of the mat. Then you definately retrace your steps by persevering with to face the opposite lengthy facet and, finally, you find yourself dealing with the entrance once more.

In my expertise, full mandala flows are significantly tougher to create and to show. Navigating your college students’ poses by all 4 sides of the mat in a single sequence makes it more durable to recollect your left out of your proper. And, when you lead with the identical facet of the physique throughout the second half of the circle and easily repeat the sequence, it could fatigue that facet of your college students’ physique.

The fantastic thing about a mandala circulation is that it’s not as difficult to create because it appears. The next steps give you a fundamental construction for stringing collectively poses in a half- or full-mandala sequence. As with every sequence, the development of poses and transitions in between them will come to you extra simply and can really feel extra pure if you really transfer in your mat reasonably than excited about transferring in your mat.

As you intend poses and transitions that transfer college students from the entrance of the mat to the again, take note the intention behind your class. Whether or not it’s a theme or a specific pose that you’re constructing as much as later in school, that ought to all the time be your precedence and your underlying motive for together with every pose.

Start Your Mandala Movement

1. Choose no less than two standing poses that face the entrance of the mat. Assume transitioning from Downward-Going through Canine into Warrior 2 Pose adopted by Aspect Angle Pose, as within the video beneath. Or Down Canine to Excessive Lunge to Warrior 3 Pose. Begin the sequence in your proper facet.

2. Choose one or two postures that face the left lengthy facet of the mat. Think about Extensive-Legged Standing Ahead Bend and/or Skandasana (Aspect Lunge). Depend on postures which are helpful in their very own proper and contribute to the intention of your class that may additionally perform to transition college students to the again of the mat.

3. Lastly, add one or two postures that happen dealing with the again of the mat. These might be postures which have a decrease heart of gravity equivalent to Low Lunge or Lizard, and even poses that take you right into a seated or reclining posture, equivalent to Janu Sirsasana or Bridge Pose.

Half Mandala Movement

4. From the again of the mat, add a vinyasa that can take you again to Down Canine (or no matter your beginning posture.) Then repeat the sequence in your left facet. You’ll find yourself on the entrance of the mat.

Full Mandala Movement

4. From the again of the mat, add a neutralizing posture dealing with the again of the mat wherein each toes are collectively and your physique is symmetrical, equivalent to Chair Pose, Uttanasana, Squat, even Bakasana.

5. You’ve a pair choices in the way you sequence the second half of the circle.

From the again of the mat, repeat your first posture of the sequence, beginning once more together with your proper leg. Proceed with that very same sequence of poses, which is able to take you again to the entrance of the mat.

Or, begin once more together with your proper leg and proceed to take college students by a brand new sequence of poses utilizing the identical rules that take them to face the lengthy facet of the mat and again to the entrance.

How one can deliver artistic aptitude to your mandala circulation

If you wish to add extra creativity to the circulation, you are able to do any of the next. The video beneath contains examples of every of those.

1. Assume transitions
Now that you’ve your construction, assume extra concerning the transitions between them. Are you able to extra fluidly hyperlink every posture to the subsequent? As you assume creatively, it’s additionally important to bear in mind the intention of the category and the talents of the scholars.

2. Embody motion in poses
Think about including extra stretching and strengthening motion to your circulation by together with choices for motion inside postures. For instance, when you’re instructing a backbending circulation, you might embrace Excessive Lunge and recommend college students take cactus arms. Should you’re main a hip-opening class, shifting back and forth in Skandasana (Aspect Lunge) can work properly.

3. Repeat and add-on
A good way to advance any mandala circulation is to repeat the sequence a number of occasions whereas including more and more difficult choices every time. Since that is the second and third occasions college students are working towards these postures, their our bodies shall be open and you’ll progress every posture. For instance, the primary Prolonged Aspect Angle Pose might be practiced together with your hand on a block or your elbow in your thigh. Within the subsequent spherical, your hand might make it to the ground. For the ultimate spherical, you would possibly really feel snug reaching for a half or full bind.

The one approach to actually get a way of how a mandala circulation works is to expertise it. Beneath you can find a 40-minute half mandala follow that builds towards Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose). By transferring by the circulation, you’ll higher perceive the way it works—and the way it leaves you feeling throughout and afterward.

About our contributor

Sarah White is a continuing-education supplier based mostly in Dubai. Her artistic sequencing type is born from her personal curiosity and exploration of the human physique and lots of different motion disciplines. Study extra about Sarah and her Artistic Sequencing Trainer Coaching right here or comply with her on instagram @Sar_white for extra artistic inspiration.


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