As part of our series on Myths and Legends, India Country Manager Stephen Raja continues talking about Kolam, and explains its relationship to yoga, happiness, and prosperity.

On a previous post Stephen explained the legend behind Kolam (beautiful drawings found in the streets of India.) Now Stephen explains why women really choose to make this drawings every day before sunrise rather than making a permanent drawing and just sleep in.

The real reason behind kolam is different from the legend. Kolam is actually a kind of yoga. Hindu religion could be rightly termed as ritualistic yoga. Our sages long back had mastered yoga and wanted to pass on the benefits of yoga to the ordinary person. But the ordinary person is not interested in doing yoga. (Many Indians don’t do yoga, it is catchier in the western world then in India). Our sages knew this, so to make the ordinary person do yoga, they created the Hindu religion, all the gods and goddess, and established rituals detailing how to worship the gods and goddess. These rituals are yoga, and one of these rituals is kolam.

The saying goes – if the Mother is happy, the family is happy. The mother is a multi-tasker. She cooks, cleans, washes, takes care of the children, husband, and many such chores every day for her family.

It will be good for the mother to do yoga everyday so that her mind and body are healthy and she can do all of these chores day after day for the family. But doing the chores everyday could be too hard on her health and very stressful in the long run.


Woman in India doing beautiful kolam with chalk powder.

The yoga part of the kolam is as follows: The mother does the kolam first thing in the morning. It should not be done with chalk, which is easy. It is done with chalk powder, and drawing these kolams is truly an art. There are no fixed designs for kolam. A good kolam would take at least 15-20 minutes to do. So for these 15-20 minutes they are concentrating on a simple activity, and is very easy to make mistakes if you are not concentrating. So this concentration is yoga for the mind. Since it is done on the floor, you need to bend your back and sit down and get up a few times. Which is yoga for the body.

So those mothers/women who regularly do the kolams get their yoga done. This keeps their mind and body healthy, which makes them happy, and where there is happiness there is prosperity.


Kolam = yoga = healthy mind and body = happiness = prosperity


Kolam contest in India.

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