Guest blog post - Michelle Saleeba is a single mum to two independent teenagers and perhaps more simply a gorgeous German Shorthaired Pointer called Otis who still likes going with her for walks at the beach!
She writes, paints and journals and tries to get on the yoga mat as often as possible.
Michelle facilitates creative therapy support groups for women that incorporate meditation as well as visual art and writing usually in the safe container of a journal.
Michelle is finishing her Personal Training certification and offers exercise programs and training sessions for wellbeing as well as anxiety and depression management.
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For more information about creative support groups or personal training with Michelle contact the Henry Street Centre in Fremantle on 9433 6957 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Much has been written on the benefits of meditation, a practice of quietening the mind as a way to relieve stress, foster relaxation and keep us comfortably focussed in the present irrespective of what is happening around us.
While this is an incredibly valid practice and one I encourage, sitting meditation is something that takes time and dedication to reap the rewards. Especially in times of high stress or anxiety it can be really tricky to just sit and be still, to ‘relax’, yet it is important that we do.
Using a focal point for your meditation practice (whether you are a beginner or have an established practice this works equally well) can be beneficial to get you started and keep your attention as the inevitable thoughts, worries and noisy mind chatter stream through the conscious mind pulling us away from our needed quietening and relaxing.
Mandala drawing or colouring has a long history in meditation practice and is used as a tool in art therapy to assist the process of quietening our worries and provide a focus for centering the body and mind.
Today there is a new idea that is gaining momentum in art therapy which involves the colouring of mandala circles as an incidental therapeutic practice. This idea has evolved from the long tradition of using pre-drawn and coloured mandala images as a focal point in meditation to include the active participation of colouring to achieve a heightened sense of calm as we not only focus our attention but express our creative energy in a way that is both soothing and nourishing.
The popularity of Mandala colouring comes from both the portability and accessibility of the practice. All you need is a print out of your Mandala template and colouring tools (ideas below). You can do it anywhere with table space, or even leaning on a magazine and best of all you don’t need any specific drawing, art skills or training, just a willingness to engage with the process and give it a go. Remember we aren’t ‘making art’ here we are practicing active meditation, so letting go of needing a particular outcome is an important part of allowing the process to flow and receiving that calming meditative benefit.
Don't think about your colour choices too much and don't worry about matching colours. Let your instincts guide you. After you've begun with the first colour, the rest will follow. The idea that each colour you choose and place on the mandala will invite the next one is key here. Trust the process, see how it gathers momentum.
I recommend having a variety of mandala templates to choose from, a folder of print outs works well. There are also template books available. Less complicated designs are perfect for snatching 5 minutes of time for yourself and larger more complex designs are wonderful if you know you can set aside a longer period to focus on your practice.
Gather your supplies
You can use any colouring tools you like, crayons, pencil crayons, chalks, pastels, paint, or markers in a variety of colours. You can even use collage to fill in your Mandala.
Print your mandala (see links below).
Find a quiet and comfortable place.
It’s that simple!
The next step is creating your own Mandala templates!
Some Links to Mandala templates