Symbols have a precious role in all of our lives. From road signs in every street to a heart drawing at the end of a love note, all these symbols add meaning to our lives. And yoga symbols have certain meanings. They add meaning to our knowledge and practice of yoga.
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular since we can reap a lot of yoga benefits for both mental and physical health. Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a newbie, you might have seen some of the yoga symbols used in yoga studios or classes. It may be a beautiful flower or something that looks like a character from another language. They look nice, but do you know what all these yoga symbols mean?
Here’s The Meaning Behind 10 Common Yoga Symbols
Let’s take a closer look at 10 common yoga symbols:
It looks like the number 30 with a small hat on its head. If you have joined a yoga class, you may be familiar with the Om chant. Yoga teachers often say at the beginning or end of the class. Om is made up of the sound of the A-U-M letters.
The Om symbol originated from Hinduism. It is supposed to represent all creation oneness, including the heavens, earth, and underworld. Others believe that it’s the representation of the three Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Om is regarded as one of the most powerful mantras, and the ritual of chanting Om has been accomplished for thousands of years. The different curves of this yoga symbol represent a sense of the waking state, the dream state, and the deep sleep. The small curve line in the middle represents the illusion, obstacles that stop you that prevent you from entering a state of absolute happiness.
Yogis often chant Hari Om. Do you know the Hari Om meaning? Hari Om is a universal mantra and contains the vibrations of the universe. It is said to eradicate all suffering and connect practitioners with universal consciousness.
It looks like a water lily, right? The lotus flower grows up from a dark, muddy place, but still possesses a beauty of purity and charm. It’s a symbol of light and emergence from the darkness. In Buddhism, the lotus represents an openness of the heart. Buddhists compare the opening of lotus petals with the revelation of what is divine within you. It is the ideal reflection of a new beginning, purity, and enlightenment.
This yoga symbol appears as a right hand with an open palm. It’s a common yoga symbol in many cultures and religions. The word “hamsa” is stemmed from five fingers on the hand. It is often decorated with an “evil eye” that is believed to repel any harm or danger. Hamsa is said to bring happiness, luck, and strength if it is worn with the fingers facing down.
Siddhartha Gautama known as Buddha is an Indian prince who gave up his throne, wealth, and luxurious lifestyle to find true meaning and happiness in life. After six years of searching, he believed that he had found enlightenment while meditating under the bodhi tree. He spent the rest of his life teaching others how to achieve this mental state. His teaching is the Dharma.
Today, the image of Buddha is used to represent someone who has attained “Bodhi” and thus can be a spiritual guide for others. Bodhi is the typical state of intellectual and moral perfection.
Mandala is traditionally associated with Buddhism and Hinduism. This yoga symbol is believed to represent the universe. Mandala is designed to provide a visual balance of elements symbolizing harmony and unity. When used in spiritual practice, the mandala is supposed to help absorb the mind during meditation.
A mandala has plenty of designs, patterns, and colors that are visually appealing and alluring. Each mandala color has a specific meaning:
- Red shows strength
- Pink shows love and femininity
- Orange shows creativity, transformation, self-awareness, intuition
- Yellow shows learning, wisdom, laughter, happiness
- Green shows physical healing, physical ability, love of nature
- Blue shows emotional healing, inner peace, meditation
- Purple shows anything spiritual
- Black shows mystery, deep thinking, individuality
Literally, the word “chakra” refers to “wheel” or”disk”. However, in yoga, the chakras are the energy centers we have in our bodies. There are seven main chakras running up our spine. Each has its own meaning and responsibility for the different physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our being. When an individual walks on the path of enlightenment, he/she must balance these seven chakras in order to attain harmony and peace in his/her life.
If you have taken a yoga class, you might be familiar with the word “namaste”. Do you know namast ay meaning? Many yoga instructors often say namaste at the end of yoga class. Namaste is a Sanskrit phrase that means”I bow to you”. It is a popular Hindu / Indian greeting.
When saying Namaste, bring your palms together at the heart center and bow as you say “namaste”. It also shows mutual gratitude, connection, and respect. Namaste is an admission of being equals.
Yin & Yang
This yoga symbol represents masculinity and femininity, light and shadow, and the law of polarization. It dates back to before the third century BC. in China, and the idea of opposing forces has resounded in many cultures and schools of thought ever since. Finally, yin and yang represent the balance and inherent harmony of nature.
Ganesh is a Hindu god that has always been described with an elephant head and is related to the first chakra. He brings prosperity, fortune, and success while removing the obstacles and paving the way for us to move forward in life. Each different part of Ganesh also has symbolic meanings:
- The large elephant head of Ganesha represents wisdom, understanding.
- His little eyes remind us to concentrate and enjoy the small things in life.
- His small mouth reminds us to talk less, embrace silence.
- Ganesh’s big ears remind us to listen more.
- The human body is meant to symbolize flexibility and adaptability
- Ganesh is usually described with only one tusk, which reminds us of remembering the good and forgetting the bad.
- Ganesh can also represent wisdom and knowledge.
- His trunk symbolizes flexibility and adaptability.
The number symbolizes wholeness, spiritual completeness and implies the basis of all creation. It has long been considered a sacred and important number in Hinduism and yoga. There are various examples of “108” appearing:
- The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
- The distance between the Earth and the Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon
- The diameter of the Sun is 108 times that of the Earth
- There are 108 sacred sites in India
- There are 108 great acupuncture points in the human body
- We have 108 different kinds of feelings, 36 in the past, 36 in the present, and 36 in the future.
- The Hindu religion has 108 different names for gods
- In Jainism, there are 108 virtues.
- 108 is called the Harshad number because the number is divisible by its total number (1 + 0 + 8 = 9 and 108 is divisible by 9). In Sanskrit “Harshad” means joy
- In Sanskrit, there are 54 letters and each letter has 2 forms – masculine and feminine and 54 × 2 = 108
- There are 108 forms of meditation.
These yoga symbols are meaningful and significant to yoga culture. They can help us deepen our practice and help us expose ourselves to the highest state of consciousness. If you choose to wear outfits featuring these yoga symbols or put them in your home, it’s necessary to understand their cultural importance to honor and respect their origins as well as yoga facts.
Which yoga symbols do you like most? Let us know by leaving a comment.