There are symbols everywhere we look – we just don’t realize it. Here are just a few you might recognize:
There are several symbols associated with yoga. You may have seen them in your yoga studio, on yoga videos, or in the yoga books you read. But what do they mean? Let’s cover just a few in detail:
This is probably one of the most recognized yoga symbols. It is associated with the mantra “om”- often used to silence the mind during meditation. Om is Sanskrit for rakùati, which means “one who protects or sustains.”
The symbol om is Vedic for pratīka which represents everything in it’s entirety…the universe, or god. It’s important to note, this is not meant to be god in a religious sense. According to Hinduism, om represents Brahman. Brahman is not a deity, religious entity, manifest being or anthropomorphic. Rather, it is an idea that represents the beginning and the end, the past and the future, the source of all manifest existence, the ultimate reality, and the Truth.
Chakra is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning disc or wheel. There are seven different chakras, or energy centers, in our body. Chakras were first mentioned in the Vedas (ancient Hindu texts). Yoga teaches that certain postures help to work through energy blocks in the associated chakras.
The Seven Chakras and their symbols are:
First Chakra: Muldara or Root Chakra
Location: Root of the spine.
Meaning: Grounding, survival and beginnings.
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Bridge Pose
Second Chakra: Svadisthana or Sacral Chakra
Location: Lower Abdominal
Meaning: Change, emotion, sexuality, empathy, pleasure and movement
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Cobra Pose
Third Chakra: Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra
Location: Upper Abdominal
Meaning: Abundance, well-being, will, power
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Bow Pose
Fourth Chakra: Anahata or Heart Chakra
Meaning: Balance, love, unity, compassion, healing
Yoga Posture for opening this chakra: Camel Pose
Fifth Chakra: Visuddha or Throat Chakra
Meaning: communication, self-expression, individuality
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Fish Pose
Sixth Chakra: Ajna or Third Eye Chakra
Location: Forehead between the brows
Meaning: Intuition, perception, wisdom, imagination
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Child’s Pose
Seventh Chakra: Sahasrara or Crown Chakra
Location: Top of the head
Meaning: Bliss, inner and outer beauty, transcendence
Yoga posture for opening this chakra: Seated meditation or headstand