What Is Mandala Yoga?

You may have seen Mandala Yoga popping up at more and more yoga studios. An increasingly popular style of yoga, Mandala balances body and mind by incorporating elemental focus and circular motions around the mat. Based on sacred rituals, the practice can be incredibly powerful. Here’s why…  

What is the purpose of a Mandala?

In order to understand Mandala Yoga, we ought to explore what a Mandala is in the first place. This section covers: what do Mandala symbols mean? And how do they relate to the divine? 

In Sanskrit, Mandala means “circle”, “essence”, or “completion”. In Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, it is a symbolic diagram used in the performance of sacred rites and as a tool for meditation. This symbol is believed to represent the universe and serves to help transform and enlighten ordinary minds and to contribute to inner healing.

Traditionally, Tibetan monks draw intricate mandala designs in coloured sand. According to Buddhist scripture, mandalas constructed from sand transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them, believed to invite purification and healing.

The Tibetan Mandala often contains deities (supernatural beings considered to be divine or sacred). The deities held within the Mandala realm are said to possess philosophical power and serve as role models to practitioners. 

You’ll no doubt have spotted Mandala designs in both yoga studios, wellness spaces, and even on our Third Eye Yoga mats

What is Mandala Yoga?

The Mandala is one of the richest visual objects in Tibetan Buddhism, making Mandala Yoga a sacred yogic practice. Inspired by the Mandala universe, in Mandala Yoga, practitioners move around the mat in circles, transitioning and holding asanas (postures) in a 360 degree way. 

Mandala Yoga flows are typically based on one of four elements: fire, water, earth, or air- to bring about a particular mood or energy and to bring practitioners closer to the universe. 

Each element is linked to a particular body part, for example:


  • Air– quads and spine (backbends)
  • Fire– gluteal muscles and abdominals (core muscles)
  • Water– groin and hips (hip openers)
  • Earth– hamstrings (forward folds)

How do you sequence a Mandala Yoga class?

Mandala Yoga classes normally begin and end with a short Yin session in order to “open” the body for practice and “close” or “seal” the practice at the end. The opening Yin section consists of postures held for multiple minutes to stretch out the appropriate muscle groups for practice. The closing Yin section focuses on counter-stretching or rebounding, making sure the body is fully balanced before the end of practice. 

Both Yin sections sandwich a dynamic vinyasa flow - a series of zestful and energetic movements and transitions practised, again, in a 360 degree fashion. 

Our mats are designed to invite creativity and balance, using sacred geometric designs to help practitioners find focus in and flow through their practice. Discover unique yoga mats here.