Yantras are artworks and designs inspired on the principles of geometry, which are used for meditation. Yantra yoga is the path of telepathic fusion using geometric diagrams, based on mathematical perfection.
By meditating on a Yantra, our concentration is focused only on the geometric design, freeing the mind from the outside world. This drawing before us is used as the instrument to achieve spiritual merging. For example, these days that I’m working hard on Manipura, trataka in the Manipura Yantra is part of my practice. By concentrating on the Manipura Yantra, my willpower, dynamism, enthusiasm, drive, and courage increase.
When meditating on a Yantra, a time comes when the practitioner closes her eyes. The design is not seen any more with the physical eyes. The concentration intensifies and becomes meditation.
A Catholic prays before the image of the Virgin Mary, not because he thinks that’s the Virgin, or because he is worshiping that image. That image of the Virgin is a symbol of what she represents. Through that image, he communicates with his divine mother.
Yantras can represent the Divine Mother in Hinduism and are known as Shakta Yantras. There are also Yantras for Shiva, Shambala, gods, deities, chakras, astrology, concepts, numbers…
Yantra is a Sanskrit word. Yam means to hold or maintain the essence of an object or concept, and tra comes from trana, which means liberation from bondage. Focusing on a Yantra teaches the mind to focus, to break free from those thoughts and emotions that unsettle us. We retreat from the outside world and achieve peace and tranquility.
In Tantric practice, usually when meditating on a Yantra, the practitioner also invokes the Yantra’s Mantra. For example, when meditating on the Manipura Yantra, I keep on repeating in my mind Manipura’s Mantra.
There is a saying in Tantra: mantra + yantra = tantra
Concentrating or meditating on a Yantra is especially attractive for visual people. The geometric shapes of a Yantra activate the right hemisphere, which is visual and not verbal. Working on Yantras balances the mind and increases imagination, concentration, and spirituality.
In the section on chakras, you can see the Yantras of the seven chakras.