Once you start on your yogic journey you will see certain yoga symbols appearing over and over again. From jewellery to T-Shirts, or perhaps on the wall of your local yoga studio. But what do they mean? Let’s take a look…
The most widely known of yoga symbols, OM represents the totality of all – manifest and unmanifest. From the eternal silence of the Absolute came a sound, a vibration, and that is symbolized in this syllable which is considered sacred in the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
There is a reference to this in the Christian Bible when it mentions that “In the beginning was the Word.” From this primal event comes forth the entirety of creation.
OM is used in the yogic tradition as a symbol or a mantra, as it contains within it’s vibratory matrix the essence and divine purpose of existence.
When we utilize OM in meditation or in yoga practice we attune ourselves with the forces on creation and so open ourselves to them, providing the conditions for the fulfillment of our potential and the realization of our true nature.
By use of OM we align ourselves in harmony with all that is, from the tiniest molecule to the movements of the greatest planets.
A ritual I particularly like is from the Hindu tradition, where after a baby is born and cleansed the symbol of OM is drawn in honey on its tongue as a blessing for the life to come.
Sometimes you will see it spelled as AUM.
Probably one of the most misunderstood of yoga symbols is the Swastika. Coming from the Sanskrit word Svastik, which means, “that which is associated with well-being“, it also has a root that can be translated as, “may good prevail.”
As such it’s use is determined by the desire for an auspicious blessing.
On my first visit to India I remember getting a surprise when I saw a birthday cake with a large swastika on it, and seeing it adorn temple walls, and the interior or buses and taxis.
The Swastika is used in a number of Eastern religions and has even been used in the healing rituals of some Native American traditions.
Obviously, since World War Two it has come to be associated with something else, but it’s roots are very pure.
Want to know more? Visit this page on wikipedia about Hindu Iconography