Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mandala book review and giveaway


The Art of Mandala Meditation: Mandala Designs to Heal Your Mind, Body and Spirit by Michal Beaucaire (of Israel) with art by Paul Heussenstamm (California) isn't a quilt book, but its more than 80 beautiful mandalas are a feast of artistic inspiration. Interweave Press generously sent me a copy to review and give away on the blog, and I've been soaking in the colors every day since it arrived.

The book opens with Getting Started, which describes the use of meditation, guided imagery and gazing at the mandalas. In case you're wondering what a mandala is ... "Mandala is a Sanskrit word: manda=essence, la=within; it is a circle that contains the essence."
 
Each full-page mandala, printed in saturated, glossy color on its own 8-inch-square page, has a meditation on the facing page for targeting everything from diabetes ...

to cold feet ...





Besides mandalas for a myriad of physical problems, there is a section on Meditations for the Soul. These particularly could be useful for all artists to help us relax and open ourselves to inspiration and free us from the dreaded "artist's block."


Here's a sample meditation, this one for Relaxing by Connecting to Nature (photo above):

"Look for a tree in the vicinity of your home ... Position yourself so that you can see the tree clearly and make yourself comfortable. If the tree is in your own yard, lie down under it, weather permitting.
Practice the breathing exercise a the beginning of 'Meditations for the Soul,' practicing it twice in a row. 
Focus on the color green and the movement of the leaves, listen to the whisper of the leaves in the wind, and connect to this tranquility.
With each breath you take, inhale serenity into yourself.
Allow the tree to calm you, by itself, by its own movement, with the green and the sky in the background.
Hold this for as long as it is pleasant, as you inhale deeply.
Close your eyes and imagine your tomorrow to be full of joy.
Take five more deep breaths and open your eyes."

The delicate rose-lavender and gold mandala, above, is for Positive Thinking: Meditation for Enlightened Thought Process. Its instructions include gazing at the center of the mandala for at least four minutes, filling your mind with its colors, then closing your eyes and imagining that you are surrounded by every possible shade of orange. It ends with:

"Fill your thought reservoir with orange, with vitality, with positive attitude and joy."




There even are mandalas for the signs of the zodiac. My blue-violet Sagittarius mandala is OK, but I have Leo envy. I want that warm golden yellow!


A useful section toward the end on Creating Your Own Mandalas gives advice on color and design. Eight full-page templates are included, which you could copy and color in a variety of ways. This section alone is incredibly useful for visual artists. The artist, Paul Heussenstamm, also invites you to visit the website www.mandalas.com for more ideas.

Given that the book is categorized under New Age, be prepared for sections on crystals, chakras, ritual water immersion and Kabbalism. If this isn't your cup of tea, just focus on the art.

I give it two thumbs up and invite you to leave a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing to receive a copy. I'll randomly pick a name this weekend and contact the winner.


Have a colorful day!


17 comments:

Tobi said...

This book looks like a good bit of eye candy!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Wouldn't mind adding this to my collection. The tree meditation alone is something I could get into! You won't be too surprised to hear that I really love your blue sign of the zodiac - ;-)

Yes Mam! Fiber Art said...

I woke up designing s mandala one day last week and started it right away (you have to pay attention to those moments!) How synchronistic that I should read your post (I don't always read them) that led me to your review! Thanks for the great write-up!

Mary said...

I think I must get this book! Cold feet! Help sleeping? Count me in! It looks wonderful and I really love the mandalas shown.

Karen S Musgrave said...

Thanks for making me aware of this book. Looks like a winner! Good for you for wanting to review! Hugs, Karen

tiedyejudy said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! I don't think I could do the bit under the tree... we have to many fire ants here, but I would love to read it and study the mandala designs... they have always been favorites of mine!

Linda M said...

I think I might need this book!

Diane said...

I have a cousin who's a pottery artist in the Midwest. She creates beautiful Mandalas using cast clays and inlaid river rocks. This reminded me of her. I can't help to want to transfer all that amazing color and movement into a cloth form. That would be something completely different for me.

KAM said...

What a wonderful book...I would love to win and use this book in my on-going exploration of design and color in my textile works.

Kristin F.

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Carolyn said...

Beautiful colors!

Diana Louie, The Village Fabric Shoppe said...

Mandalas have fascinated me for many years, both as artwork and inspiration for stitching. If I don't win it, I may have to order it- you did say it was from Interweave??

5e1bac44-33c5-11e1-9aca-000f20980440 said...

Looks like great inspiration with some practical aspects. At this point with all the daily drama at home, I could surely use some serenity.

California Fiber artist and composer said...

This looks like a great book. I would love to own a copy...I could do with some meditation

Pam said...


Wow, gorgeous colors, for sure, looks incredibly motivating! I want to see what color they list for Scorpios!!

Gale said...

This looks like a beautiful book with such inspiration. I have discovered meditation through Deepak Chopra's online meditation course going on now and am beginning to get it!

sonja said...

thought about the sand mandalas the Buddhist monks make as i read your post. cloth and color are net in my thoughts that all of this has shelf life of varring degrees. now i have a date with a Lychee tree ....sonja