Mandala yoga is a form of Vinyasa practice. It is a dynamic flow and can be as challenging as the student would like it to be, modifications and options will be offered. Regular practice or experience of Vinyasa yoga is recommended before trying it.
Mandala Yoga is inspired by Mandalas (as you might have guessed). A mandala is a circular figure that represents the universe in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Mandala in the Sanskrit language means circle, essence, or completion. It draws from the 4 elements that make up the universe, fire, water, air, and earth, each corresponding to a chakra (read on) and a group of muscles. Each mandala class will focus on just one element for the entirety of that practice and will move through the four elements over four separate classes.
What Is A Manada Flow Class?
As Mandala yoga is inspired by the elements and nature, you never move in straight lines as you never find straight lines in nature. Like a mandala, your practice will form a circle, you will use all four corners of your mat and move around in 360 degrees.
Generally, you will begin and end the class with Yin Yoga to warm up and open the body, you may also close the class with pranayama (breathwork) or a meditation.
Physically the class is similar to a slower-paced vinyasa flow, moving through different levels of asanas (postures) that focus on the element of that class. You will incorporate conscious breath into every movement inthe practice, which allows for a deeper connection to your body and to the element as well as a fluid and mindful movement.
What Is A Chakra?
A Chakra is an energy centre within the body associated with spiritual power as well as organs and glands. The word chakra in Sanskrit means wheel or circle. There are 7 main chakras that follow the centre line of the body but there are in fact 114 chakras in total. The understanding and idea of chakras originated in India between 1500 and 500 BC in the oldest text called the Vedas, an ancient Hindu scripture.
Chakra: Heart (Anahata Chakra)
Body part: Quads and Spine
This element is related to our identity, our ability to love, and our calmness. A blockage here may feel like a lack of empathy, depression and anxiety, feelings of loneliness, shyness and a lack of self love. Anahata means unhurt, unstruck and unbeaten. This element is normally accessed through backbends.
Chakra: Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra)
Body part: Glutes and IT bands
This element is associated with willpower and our ego identity. The solar plexus is also related to our confidence and self-esteem. A blockage in this chakra may be result in a low self-esteem, self-trust, a lack of willpower, a victim complex and poor digestion. We access this chakra through twists.
Chakra: Sacral (Svadhisthana Chakra)
Body part: Groin and Hips
This element connects to our source of movement and connection as well as creativity and pleasure. The sacral chakra is related to our reproductive organs and kidneys. A blockage here may create feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and a lack of creative inspiration. This element is accessed through a series of hip openers.
Chakra: Root (Muladhara Chakra)
Body part: Hamstrings
Earth and the root chakra are all about grounding down and finding stability. It provides you with a base and foundation for life, helping you feel grounded and able to withstand challenges. A blockage here may result in sluggishness, colon issues, bladder issues, lower back problems, feeling of having ‘head in the clouds’ and feeling unstable. This element is accessed through forward folds.
Why Practice Mandala Yoga?
The four elements were our ancestors way of understanding the world. They can be incredibly powerful guides for how we can live our lives in alignment with nature, the universe and our own unique selves. Mandala yoga practice allows for a deep connection to the elements, your body and energy and has a balancing effect, which promotes physical and psychological wellbeing.
The elements are present in all that we do, all that we see, hear, feel and taste...they are present in every season, hour and minute of our day. Being out of alignment with the elements is to be out of alignment with the universe and your own energy.
When practicing Mandala yoga we embody the elements through purposefully created sequences. With the element of Air we open ourselves to bring more spaciousness into our being. Fire invites us to expand into more vibrancy, accessing our innate confidence. We learn to become more fluid and flexible with water. The earth reminds us to live fully in our bodies and grounded in the present moment.
By practicing Mandala yoga, we also balance our chakras and energy field, releasing any negative energy we are storing and activating and restoring our naturally positive energy. This brings vibrancy and balance into our lives and body and may help to heal any health issues you are experiencing due to a blockage of these chakras.
Practice Mandala Yoga With Us
Want to try a Mandala class? Well you are in luck, we run a weekly Mandala Flow every Thursday 7:00-8:00 PM in Studio + Online with our incredible teacher Lizzie! Book Today!
What Lizzie Has to Say:
"To me Mandala flow is a fluid class, moving 360 degrees around the mat. This class is centred around a repetitive flow, which is calming and is designed to create an almost trance like moving meditation.. Some days I add yin/restorative yoga into the mix and some days it’s a bit more dynamic. Suitable for all levels- the repetitive flow is especially great for beginners."
Lizzie’s classes combine a powerful, yet nurturing energy with a fun, mischievous side. Her teaching is based on the four elements. Lizzie’s classes are accessible for any level of yogi and she has extensive experience teaching in studios, as well as with corporate, private, and sports team clients.
Since completing her 200-hour Vinyasa yoga teacher training in 2018 with YogaLondon, she’s gone on to complete a further 20 hours of advanced teacher training in Mandala Vinyasa with The Yoga People.