Mandala art means 'magic circle' in Sanskrit. Mandalas have symbolic and meditative meanings beyond their vibrant appearance. Some believe that mandalas represent the connection between our inner worlds and outer reality. Designing your own mandalas can be both inspirational and therapeutic.
What’s it for?
Drawing and colouring a mandala can be a positively enriching individual experience. You look inside yourself and find the shapes, colours, and patterns to express anything from your present state of mind to your most deeply desired wish for yourself, a loved one, or humankind. Mandalas are wonderful tools for meditation and improving self-awareness. this activity offers you the freedom to choose whatever shapes and colours you feel express your sense of self and your view of reality.
Check In: Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
Before you create your mandala, think of it as an echo of your soul. Allow your attention to expand; become aware of your body and breathing from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Now try to expand your attention further, including the room's temperature and the space around you. What sounds do you hear? What do you see? What colours do you see, what shapes do you notice, how does this make you feel?
The best thing about creating your own mandalas is that you hold the freedom to decide whatever shapes and colours that you feel represent your sense of self and your perspective of reality. Your mandala is yours, and you have the freedom to use your creativity to create a mandala drawing that is uniquely you.
Drawing Mandala Guidelines:
Start by drawing a circle in pencil. You may use a plate to trace as a guide. Your circle will be the size of your finished mandala.
Draw one line horizontally through the centre of your circle, then another vertically so you have four equal quadrants. Next, draw a small circle in the centre where the two lines cross, and this will be your starting point.
Draw your first organic shape! You can start with a flower petal or anything that comes to mind; you can make any design you want. Use your quadrant lines to ensure your mandala is as symmetrical as possible.
Build your way out from the central image by filling the negative space with repeating shapes and maintaining a consistent and symmetrical design.
Keep going until you reach the edges of your circle.
Extra Activity: Once you understand the primary stages of drawing a mandala, you can now try new designs and new colours each time you draw a different mandala.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
Did you learn anything new about yourself while you did this activity?
Did you discover any new feelings?
do you feel relaxed after completing this activity?
Were there any parts of your mandala that you are most drawn to?
Did you experience any challenges when creating your mandala?
Does your mandala remind you of someone, a place, or a memory?
Does your mandala tell a story?
If you could name your mandala, what would you call it?
Carl J. Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and analytic psychotherapist. He was one of the first pioneers of art therapy and he believed that the practice of creating mandalas was a useful tool for self-expression, discovery, and healing. If you allow it to be, the activity can be relaxing for the mind and body. Mandalas help you explore your inner world - they can contain both geometric and organic forms that offer meaning for the person creating it.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you
discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about
yourself from this activity?
Reference: Jung, C. and Hull, R., 1972. Mandala symbolism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
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Created by Kamala Roberts© February 2022
Creative Arts Used: Art
Psychological Area Explored: Emotional Wellbeing, Attention & Hyperactivity, Mindfulness
If you enjoyed this activity, you might also like: Mindful Breathing Doodles: Use doodles on paper to keep your breathing steady and calm.
These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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