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The mental benefits of mandala


January 26, 2022

On Jan. 22, Dr. Patti Ashley hosted her bi-annual mandala workshop at Cottonwood Square in Niwot. Dr. Ashley specializes in child development, special education and psychology; she works as a psychotherapist, author, international speaker, and authenticity architect coach.

Mandala is a form of artistic representation meant to unfold an individual’s inner thoughts and feelings through guided meditation. cultures, but is usually represented in geometric patterns. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung used this practice to unveil his patient’s inner psyche, according to Ashley.

In her workshop, she performs a guided meditation and asks her students rhetorical questions such as: What is a place that is sacred to you? Is this place safe? Do you see any colors or animals? When her students come out of the meditation, the students write down the images that entered their minds.

Afterwards, they begin the process of creating a mandala. There are various mediums which can be used to create a mandala, but in this instance, Ashley uses stencils and black paper. She also instructs her students to separate the circle into eight parts, as it usually helps them organize their thoughts.

For over 30 years, Ashley incorporated the mandala practice in her work life and personal life. She was first introduced to mandala after her divorce when she was experiencing anxiety and depression while transitioning to becoming a single mother. The mandala helped her reflect on her personal turmoils and learn to live in the present more often. “All of my fears just melted away and I was hooked,” Ashley said.

If you’re interested in practicing the mandala, Ashley recommends taking shorter sessions in the beginning (as they can last for over five hours) and look for mandala coloring books, as they often help individuals cope with stress.

Her next workshop won’t be until mid-April, but there are other mandala workshops you can attend in the local area. These sites may provide some assistance: http://www.mandalaconsultingllc.com and https://www.bouldercountyarts.org/node/20049. To learn more about her work, visit her website at http://www.pattiashley.com.


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