The higher purpose of life is to attain synchronization with the supreme universal force. This is precisely the purpose of Yoga Symbols. These symbols lie bounty in nature. Only the keen eyes of the yogis or the spiritual worshiper have been able to decipher those.
These symbols have been the epitome of spirituality and the connection of the inner self with the higher being. Typically Yoga is a practice emanating out of the South East Asian countries. Religions like Hinduism and Buddhism have established Pilates to calm the mind and find the balance or equilibrium of the inner self with the outer world.
Each Yoga symbol is a depiction of spirituality. These are signs to connect the inner self or ‘atman’ with the supreme being or ‘Paramatman’ or the ‘Brahma.’
Brahma is the controller of the Universe by all its powers. Symbols for the Yogis lie scattered in seeds, fruits, flowers, signs, sounds, instruments, etc. These symbols have deep inner meanings or connotations. They used it as the medium to concentrate the thoughts for seeking the connection with the ‘Paramatman’ or the ‘Brahma.’
The yogic symbols are naturally rich in connotations. The yogis believe that the characters used in yoga sutras are the vehicles to drive the self towards spiritual enlightenment. These symbols are mystical.
Concentrating on these symbols increases the surroundings’ vibrations and produces healing effects. With time, people are getting accustomed to using these yoga symbols. They are used as a sign to concentrate and uplift and heal the mind.
The Om and what it depicts
Talking of the yoga symbols, the first that comes into mind is the Supreme Sound or the “Shabd Brahman.” Yes, we are talking about “Om,” a meditation sound in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions.
- Om is the combination of three syllables and a dot. Consequently, the three syllables are ‘A,’ ‘U,’ and ‘M.’
- This means the three levels of consciousness. The ‘A’ depicts the awakened state, which one can perceive through the five senses of the conscious human being.
- The ‘U’ depicts the state of dream or partial consciousness.
- The ‘M’ symbolizes the subconscious or the state aligned with the Universe.
- The dot at the top of the syllable depicts stillness, ‘sthiti’ or ‘samadhi,’ where the purest form of consciousness derives.
In short, the syllable and the sound Om means totality – the inner self, the outer surrounding, and the supreme force. It states the Trinity- Brahman, Vishnu, and Maheshwar. They are the giver of life, the nurturer of life, and the destroyer of life. So again, it is existence in its complete form.
Chanting of Om is regular and a must in temples of the Hindus and Jains, and Buddhist pagodas. No religious ceremony of these religions is complete without chanting the Om. It brings in spiritual upliftment and helps to achieve inner peace if chanted with understanding its meanings and connotation.
Auspicious Swastika and powerful Sauvastika
The second meaningful sign that comes to mind as the Yogic Symbol is the ‘Swastika’ sign. Come the new year in India or the opening of business by any Hindu organization.
The swastika will adorn the business books and adorn the gateways of the room or the temples. Even it is noticeable on the walls of some business houses that follow Hinduism as a religion. So, what is typical about the swastika.
- The swastika is the symbol of a human with four limbs.
- The limbs are all placed at a 90-degree angle and are moving in a clockwise direction.
- However, at some places, the limbs with an anti-clock-wise movement have been adopted. But the name of that symbol is ‘Sauvastika.’
- Both ‘Swastika’ and ‘Sauvastika’ symbolize power and overall goodness.
- The swastika resembles the eternal power of the Sun God and withstand challenges and establish goodness.
- While swastika symbolizes the light and eternity in the Sun, Sauvastika symbolizes the eternal darkness or the ‘Mahakali,’ which is an encouraging sign in the Hindu Tantra Yoga.
The Swastik or the Swastika is a Vedic Yoga sign and originated in the Indus Valley civilization. Because of Swastika, Adolf Hitler had put it as a symbol in the flag for Nazi Germany. The much-coveted character meant something different for those who had apathy towards the Nazi party.
The Lingam and reasons for its worship
The third symbol that arouses curiosity among many Yoga practitioners is the Lingam- A sign of worship in the Yoga Sutras.
- The Shiva Linga is again depicting the Trinity the Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar.
- It means the Universe as a whole with creation, calm, and destruction: Srishti-Creation, Calmness or Eternity-Sthiti and Destruction-Vinash.
- The upper cylindrical part of the dome of the Linga is called the Rudrabhaga, which is the
- Depiction of Shiva or the destroyer. It also signifies the Tamas Gunas or the qualities of darkness.
- The key-shaped portion at the center is the key to creation and is called the Vishnubhaga, or the depiction of Lord Vishnu, the nurturer of the world. It symbolizes the Raja Guna or the active and nurturing qualities of the Universe.
- The base structure is the depiction of the creative force of the Universe. It is called the Brahmabhaga and depicts the swastika or the purest form of universal energy.
So, worshipping the Lingam is also a symbol of the worship of the Universe in totality – the creative force, the nurturing force, and the destructive force. In Yoga, the destruction is seen as the other form or the alternate of creation as new life emanates after the destruction of the old.
Hence to attain pure and sublime consciousness, the awareness of ‘Srishti, ‘sthiti’ and ‘vinash’ plays an important role. According to some, the Lingam symbolizes the creative force that moves the Universe. It holds the key to creation, as explained in the “Da Vinci Code” written by Dan Brown. However, that is a fundamental explanation. The Vedic shastras have explained the significance of the Lingam as explained above.
The Rudraksha as a Yoga symbol
When the Lingam is under discussion, can the Rudraksha stay behind? ‘Rudraksha’ combines two words, ‘Rudra’ -Lord Shiva and ‘Raksha- which means eyes. Yes, Rudraksha in its complete form means the eyes of Lord Shiva or Rudra Dev in the Hindu religion.
It is the seed of a fruit. The tree’s scientific name that bears the rudraksha fruit is Elaeocarpus ganitrus. It grows in plenty in the foothills of the Himalayas and the plains of the river Ganga.
The fruit of the rudraksha tree is blue, which resembles the color of the pupils of the blue eyes of Lord Shiva. The story grows that the Lord sat in meditation and went to a state of calmness in absolute peace and bliss. He became immovable and numb, as if life has gone out of him, and went into perfect ecstasy in yoga posture or meditation.
Then suddenly, out of joy, his tears fell into the earth and gave birth to the rudraksha tree. The rudraksha seed has been used for ages as beads that help achieve a meditative state and bring calm and concentration of mind.
Properties of the Rudraksha:
- The rudraksha seed grows in different shapes or faces.
- It helps in attaining concentration of the mind and achieving spiritual upliftment.
- The Rudraksha seed is kept in the house or temple as an air purifier.
- The rudraksha seed has excellent therapeutic effects and is widely used in the Ayurveda.
- Taken with milk, the rudraksha seed is used to increase memory.
- It cures the ailments of the brain like the brain-fever.
- The seed cures cough, cold, fever and eliminates marks from burns and infections.
- The fruit is used for curing liver diseases in Ayurveda like jaundice.
- It is a natural cure for epilepsy.
- The rudraksha fruit has excellent anti-bacterial properties.
- High blood pressure is said to be cured by having the rudraksha-seed powder.
- Modern science has proved that rudraksha seed stabilizes the bio-electric current in the body. It brings in peace and calmness of the mind and keeping immunity at a higher level.
Naturally, with all these properties, the Rudraksha has been identified as the king of seed used as a yoga symbol.
Seven chakras as the ultimate Yoga Symbols
The Yogis believe that the body is the best tool to attain spiritual connectivity. The body has been stated in Yoga as a harmonious combination of the seven powerhouses or the seven chakras. Power flows from one house to the other in a cycle.
The seven chakras lie in the body’s torso, starting from Muladhara or the base chakra and ending in the Sahasrara or the crown chakra. The yogis believe that the body suffers from diseases when one or more chakras get blocked.
Hence it is pertinent to practice Yoga or meditation correctly to keep the chakras in the body free from blockage and functioning smoothly.
The chakras, their seats, and energizing:
- The base chakra or the chakra at the root of the body is called the Muladhara, which means the primary holder of the body. Concentrating on it makes one rooted in reality. People with powerful root chakra can stand any challenge in their life and are fighters. It invigorates a person.
- To increase the power of the root chakra, any balancing posture like the tree posture or the mountain posture helps improve the base chakra’s function.
- The second chakra is the sadhisthan. It is also called the sacral chakra. The function of this chakra is the ability to reproduce and sensuality. People with high sacral energy have good reproductive power.
- They are creative and are have heightened emotions. The ways to activate the sacral chakra are practicing yoga postures like the pigeon pose or the lizard pose.
- The third chakra, or the Manipura, is the controller of the digestive abilities of the body. It is the solar plexus of our body. This chakra is a house of power and strength.
- People with active solar plexus have high self-esteem. They have control over their life which is commendable. Sitting in a triangular or boat position for a long helps to energize the solar plexus.
- The fourth chakra is Anahata. It is based in the heart region. People with more vital heart chakra are loving and compassionate. Asanas like the camel pose or the wheel pose to open up the heart chakra and make one more forgiving.
- The next chakra, or the fifth one, is the throat chakra or the buddha. People with open throat chakra are expressive and never fail to speak the truth. They are able communicators. The plow posture energizes the throat chakra.
- The sixth chakra is the Agna chakra. This powerhouse is the seat of wisdom and intuition. It enables one to foresee the future. Meditation and eagle posture asana helps in increasing the power of the third eye. The chakra is located in the third eye, which is believed to be present in a fixed position between the two eyes.
- The seventh chakra is the crown chakra or the Sahasrara. It is finally the seat of connection between self and the Supreme Force. This the yogis can attain. But to get an energized Sahasrara, all the other chakras should be functioning smoothly. Meditation and mindfulness are the way to energize the Sahasrara.
Yoga signs lie in bounty in nature, and the heart and the subject are fascinating. However, we have discussed five of these and reflected on the therapeutic significance of some of them.
What is the essence of the Yoga Symbol?
Yoga symbols are the vehicles of spiritual connectivity or the alignment of the self with the Supreme force of the Universe.
What does the word Om signify?
It is an amalgamation of three syllables and a dot which signifies the Universal force as a whole.
What does the sign of ‘Swastika’ connote?
The swastika is a symbol of balance and eternal light, and power. It represents the power of Sun God in the Vedic religion.
What is the meaning of the Lingam?
The Lingam connotes the three universal forces of creation, nurturing, and destruction. In totality, it signifies the Universe as a whole.
What is Rudraksha
It is a seed that grows in the Gangetic Himalayas. Besides being used as a Yoga symbol, it has a tremendous therapeutic effect.
Does unblocking the chakras help one to attain a healthy body?
Absolutely yes, energizing the chakras helps one to attain a sound body and mind. There are ways to energize or unblock each chakra.