Chanting while coloring a mandala
Mandalas are geometrical patterns that are contained within a circle and bring great balance and harmony.They exist everywhere in nature, in the trunk of a tree, in starfish in the sea, in snowflakes and in cells.
Colouring mandalas with your child or having your child color mandalas are great motor exercise that bring deep harmony and an inner sense of accomplishment and contentment.
I don’t believe in forcing a child to colour. However, there is a time when kids are obsessed with coloring. It is what they call in Montessori education, a “sensitive period”, a time when learning of that topic will be most welcome as interest is at peak and persistent. At such a time, having mandalas available with easy access to the child can be helpful. I’m not too sure about boys, but my little girl cannot but help be attracted by the designs.
We have a community silent hour every month, where people of all ages sit together, doing whatever they want in silence. Some read, some nap, some colour, some journal. Being only 4 and having attended these gatherings since she was 2, the little one likes to busy herself coloring. Little hands must do and this is something she loves.
Though I have worked with children in the space of dance education and storytelling for over 12 years, I’m no expert on education, but I am a keen observer. These are a few things I noticed about mandala coloring:
Coloring from inside to out or outside to in, whichever way the child chooses, brings a sense of focus and inwardness.
There is a natural silence that this harbors, the symmetry and balance bring peace and the face looks focussed yet serene.
Since coloring is a precursor for developing the fine motor skills needed to write, coloring mandalas, with their intricate patterning helps develop this in a very organic way. Whoever enjoyed drawing straight, slanting and curved lines on blue and red lined paper anyway!
My daughter and I more often than not chant while coloring. We often colour together, on the same mandala maneuvering space and her indicating the colors she wishes me to use silently. Its such a great experience. Often after long periods of togetherness, we get on each others nerves. At times like this, we are both glad to quietly colour mandalas and avoid saying impulsive and possibly hurtful things to each other.
As an extension, we observe mandalas in nature, someday we will make mandalas with leaves and flowers and kolam/rangoli and when she is old enough and interested, we will learn to draw yantras.
For now, we enjoy our mandala meditations. Do try it and share your experience in the comments.
Part 2 (Click here to read Part 1 Guzz guzz Gruzz the anxious buzz) Years later.....I sat on her couch in Mumbai, this complete stranger (Effath Yasmin), with my 9 day old baby in my arms, helpless, tear filled feeling like a complete failure of a mother. My baby was...