The Meaning and Use of Common Yoga Symbols


Yoga and meditation are wealthy in mystical symbolism. Yet contemporary yoga has each commercialized and overlooked lots of of the deeper meanings of these ancient sacred symbols. Many practitioners use symbols as a way to express their dedication and like of yoga by employing them on clothing, jewelry, or even tattoos. But these symbols are not just decoration–knowing and understanding yogic symbols is an integral path to obtaining a deeper expertise of the yogic philosophies, teachings, and mythologies. Yoga symbols are a potent tool to make insight and a deeper understanding of the practice of yoga. They visually convey a idea, teaching, or spiritual thought that can be used in your yoga or meditation practice to focus the thoughts and induce a state of contemplation and absorption.

What Are Yoga Symbols

A symbol is a graphical representation of an thought, idea, or connection. Symbols can make potent hyperlinks among pretty unique ideas and experiences to allow us to move from the unknown to the recognized. Mystics from India developed yoga symbols to elevate consciousness and bring deeper insight into one’s spiritual path and yoga practice. They, as a result, are crucial in communicating deeper truths and to guide one particular toward reaching inner peace and enlightenment.

How to Use Yoga Symbols

There are a number of techniques you can use yoga symbols to enrich and deepen your yoga and meditation practice. Having one particular or more of these symbols about one’s living and practice space can assist you get higher levels of inspiration and spiritual power. You can incorporate yoga symbols into your wardrobe, you can put on jewelry with the symbols on it, or you can even discover decorative pieces with the symbols, to location in your house. Just possessing the symbols close by you will elevate your yoga practices and enhance your concentration, inner peace, and connection with the Devine. You might want to location one particular or more yoga symbols in your practice space with particular intentions for using them. They can serve as a visual reminder to return to your intention anytime you see them. You can also location one particular of these photos in front of you to gaze at although practicing meditation or yoga poses.

Common Symbols in Yoga

Many of the following frequent symbols are not restricted to just yoga. The energy of symbols is their universal appeal, so these icons might also be identified in lots of other cultures, religions, and spiritual practices. The mystery of the symbols can include a number of layers of which means that need the use of contemplation and study to unlock.

The Om/Aum Symbol

The Om or Aum symbol is the most frequent symbol in Yoga and you will typically encounter this image in at your neighborhood yoga studio. It is typically chanted at the starting and finish of a yoga or meditation class. Yogis think that the sound or vibration of Om unifies every little thing in the universe. It is believed that the chanting Om and meditating on the Om symbol can open your third eye and connect to the divine force of the universe. This image represents the major objective of yoga to unite the thoughts, body, and spirit.

The 3 unique sounds of Om (A-U-M) represent the 3 elements of the Hindu Trimurti: Brahma the creator (A), Vishnu the sustainer (U) and the Shiva the transformer (M). The representation and sound of Aum can also be broken down into 4 meanings.

  1. The bottom left curve represents the sound of A (aahh) and the 1st or waking state of consciousness. This is our conscious thoughts and exactly where we practical experience the globe by way of the 5 senses.
  2. The bottom ideal curve represents the sound of U (oohh) and the second or dreaming state of consciousness. We practical experience this beyond our physical bodies in our active unconsciousness and energetic realms.
  3. The prime left curve represents the sound of M (mmm) and the third or deep sleeping state of consciousness. Represents the spiritual forces of the universe and the connectivity it supplies
  4. The dot situated on the prime character represents the silence right after chanting Aum and the fourth or samadhi state of pure consciousness. This is the highest state of consciousness exactly where you practical experience absolute stillness and oneness with all creation.

The 7 Chakra Symbols

The Chakras represent 7 power centers in our bodies and are described as whirling disks of light. Yogis think that if all of these 7 energies are in ideal harmony you will be at peace, spiritually, mentally, and physically. One approach of balancing the chakras is to meditate on the meanings made use of in every single of the chakras symbols. The chakra icons are composed of lotus petals, triangles, colors, circles, Sanskrit letters, and other symbols situated along the spinal column.

  1. Chakra SymbolsThe Muladhara or Root Chakra, which is red in colour and appears a bit like an upside-down triangle, represents stability and grounding.
  2. The Svadhishthana or Sacral Chakra, which is orange in colour and appears like a crescent moon inside a flower, represents the center of your creativity.
  3. The Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra, which is yellow and appears a tiny like an upside-down funnel, impacts your self-confidence. It represents your power and vibrancy that you place out into the globe.
  4. The Anahata or Heart Chakra, which is green and appears like a star inside a lotus, is mentioned to fuel your compassion and empathy.
  5. The Vishuddha or Throat Chakra, which is blue and appears like a circle and a triangle inside a flower, represents your capability to speak up and share your expertise with other individuals about you.
  6. The Ajna or Third Eye Chakra, which is an indigo colour that appears a bit like a triangle inside an eye, represents your connection to the divinity. It is also recognized as ‘the third eye Chakra.’
  7. Lastly, the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra, which is purple which appears like a completely blossomed lotus flower, is your divine connection to the whole universe.

There are lots of more specifics and expertise surrounding the 7 Chakras accessible to discover in your spiritual practice. You can uncover how to hold their flow of power balanced and to unlock any blocked Chakras by exploring their symbolism in higher detail.
Gyan Mudra Symbol

The Gyan Mudra Symbol

This is the most frequent hand mudra made use of in yoga and meditation. This symbol appears like the “ok” gesture we make with our hands by touching the tip of the index finger to the tip or the base of the thumb.The index finger symbolizes the heart chakra and the air element and the thumb represents the solar plexus and the fire element.

Using this mudra although meditating brings peace and calm, as a result the illustration of the mudra symbolizes the state of meditation and the attainment of inner peace. This symbol is also recognized as jnana mudra or chin mudra.Lotus Flower Symbol

The Lotus Flower

The open lotus flower represents purity, enlightenment, and new beginnings. The attractive lotus blooms on the surface of stagnant muddy water and its roots develop deep in the muddy bottom. A water lily also symbolizes our capability to transform good struggles and troubles into potent life lessons. A closed lotus flower represents an unenlightened yogi on the path of enlightenment. A blue lotus flower symbolizes mindfulness and wisdom. A white lotus represents purity of believed and spirit. A purple lotus represents mysticism and a pink lotus is recognized as the sacred lotus of the Buddha.
Mandala Symbol

The Mandala

The Sanskrit word Mandala translates to “circle” and these symmetrical geometric patterned shapes represent wholeness, unity, and harmony. The outer circles symbolize the oneness of the universe, and the circle of life. The inner layers represent the unique levels of human existence. Mandalas are made use of in visual meditation to focus the thoughts, market contemplation and make inner peace.
Ganesha Symbol

The Ganesh Symbol

Ganesha is a pretty well-liked Hindu deity with an elephant head and a human body who represents very good luck, expertise, and studying. He is invoked at the starting of new endeavors and is recognized as the remover of obstacles. Ganesh’s body components also hold unique symbolic meanings. For instance, his huge elephant head represents expertise and his trunk stands for wisdom.
Hamsa Symbol

The Hamsa (Evil Eye) Symbol

Although it appears like a daunting evil eye, this symbol is not as awful as it sounds. This symbol is used to bring protection and repel harm and negative power. Hamsa is a well-liked symbol in lots of cultures and religions to represent luck, very good fortune, health, wealth, and fertility.
Buddha symbol

The Buddha

The image of the Buddha is one particular of the most well-liked symbols in Buddhism and is also made use of in yoga. This symbol signifies our capability to turn out to be awakened or enlightened by way of meditation. The Buddha liberated himself from worldly suffering and spiritual ignorance and seeing his image reminds us that we can do the exact same.
Shri Yantra symbol

The Shri Yantra

A yantra is a geometric pattern made use of in meditation to focus the thoughts. The Shri Yantra is a sacred geometry symbol that has been made use of for thousands of years to represent the power, energy, and creativity of the divine mother. It is also recognized as Sri Chakra and is regarded as the mother or queen of all the other yantras. It is believed to guard against unfavorable energies and to attract positive ones.

crescent moon symbolThe Crescent Moon

The Hindu god Shiva is typically represented with a crescent moon on his head which symbolizes timelessness and the mastery more than time. In Hinduism, the crescent moon is recognized as Chandra, an ancient lunar deity that represents fertility. The image of a crescent moon is made use of in yoga to represent decay, impermanence, and rebirth.

Trident symbolThe Trident

The trident or Trishula is a weapon of Shiva and Durga created of 3 prongs. This representing the holy quantity three—the 3 states of creation, sustenance, and destruction previous, present, and future body, thoughts and spirit and the power of the 3 gunas  (satva, rajas and tamas). In the stories of Hinduism, the trident is used to kill evil demons and is a symbol of energy and authority.

coiled snake symbolThe Coiled Snake

The primordial power of Kundalini is mentioned to lie dormant in the muladhara chakara is represented as a coiled snake. In Hinduism, Anantha Shesha is represented  as a coiled snake symbolizing infinity and the immeasurable quantity of cycles of creation, dissolution, and recreation of the universe. The image of a snake symbolizes wisdom, healing, transformation, and regeneration. Snakes have often had a particular location in Eastern culture for the reason that they are regarded as a symbol of longevity and immortality.

Dharma Wheel symbolThe Dharma Wheel

The dharma wheel, or Dharmachakra, is one particular of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism recognized as Ashtamangala. The circle rim of the wheel symbolizes the perfection of the Buddha’s teaching and meditative actions of concentration, focus, and mindfulness. Its eight spokes represent the eightfold path top to enlightenment.

Shiva Linga symbolThe Shiva Linga

The Shiva Linga is a phallic-shaped symbol that is made use of in Tantric yoga rituals to represent the unity of the masculine and feminine forces inside every single individual. It also represents the creation of the universe, and the union of Prakriti and Purusha—yogic philosophy’s two primary energetic polarities.

Conch shell symbolThe Conch Shell

The Shankha or conch shell is traditionally blown just before the start off of lots of Indian ceremonies to announce and welcome in the powers of divine power. Its sound represents the cosmic music of the Universe and it is amongst the 4 sacred objects that Vishnu holds in his hands. It is believed that the sound of the conch shell keeps away evil spirits and protects humans from harm. In Buddhism, the Conch shell is also one particular of the eight Ashtamangala symbols. It represents the energy and potency of the sound of the Buddha’s teachings.

Other Symbols in Yoga

There are lots of other symbols of yoga that you can practical experience and discover. These symbols all have wealthy and potent histories so please use these with respect and understanding when decorating your house studio or seeing these in yoga class. Hopefully, this fast lesson will inspire you to find out and practical experience the deeper meanings of symbols in your practice of yoga. Please let us know if there are any more symbols that you’d like us to clarify and add to the list above!



Originally published in www.yogabasics.com