I thought I had forgotten Geometry for good after barely passing the 10th grade. The mathematics of shapes and relative parts, however, has recently come back into my awareness, this time with much more interest and depth.
Geometry, as it turns out, has a prominent role in yoga. Shapes and patterns are weaved into diverse techniques (also called tantra) to achieve balance, alignment, and repose.
The most obvious example of Geometry in yoga is the yantra, such as the one in the image above. Yantras are geometrical designs, often build from triangles, that expresses the energy of a mantra and represents the concept of the diety with which it is associated. This one is a simple figure representing the point of divine unity between shiva and shakti.
There are yantras for Ganesh, Shiva, Shree (Goddess) and other dieties which serve as support for yoga and meditation. Yantras and the elaborate artwork associated with them (called mandala) are particularly popular in Buddhist yoga techniques.
As asana practice seems to be the most popular yoga technique these days, we need not look any farther for exercises in Geometry. Trikonasana, Triangle Pose, is one of countless tributes to the sacred Trinity. Learning this asana is a study of relationships between the sides of the triangle, measurements of distance and direction, etc.
Trikonasana reminds us of yoga’s principle that body, mind, and spirit are three sides to each of us. Yoga teaches us that the spirit is distinctly separate entity that can be infused in the body and mind through the purification of practice.
The triad in yoga may also symbolize the three sounds of the sacred Om (A U M), or the 3 states of mind (waking, dreaming, deep sleep ). Three is the number of Lord Shiva’s eyes. His third eye has laser beam pointedness, and can shine inward for self-reflection or outward to blast decimating rays of destruction
Three is the also number of points on the Goddess Durga’s trishula (trident), which she takes in to battle to conquer of the demons of the ego and free us from our selves. Now is Navaratri, known in Mysore as Dasara or Durga Puja, the time of year to celebrate the possibility of this victory.
As it turns out, Geometry can be really interesting, even inspiring!