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Why Red Elephant?
On a very simple level, the red elephant is a happy, solid, dependable friend who represents the fact that anyone, any size, any condition, any age, can practice some form of yoga. You may think that you are “out of the ordinary”, but you aren’t when it comes to yoga. There is a safe place for you here.
On a more advanced level, there are 7 energy centers in the body called "Chakras" and they parallel the spine. Each chakra has certain qualities and associations. And there are yoga postures that help us get this energy in balance.
The first chakra is found at the base of the spine, the point you are sitting on right now. Its name, Muladhara, means "root", and the paths of energy in this chakra extend downward like a root through the legs and feet to contact the solid Earth below. Its color is deep red, and its symbol is a lotus of four petals within which is a downward-pointing triangle, symbolizing the root energy.
Each chakra has also an animal associated with it. The muladhara chakra is associated with an elephant. An elephant is strong, sturdy, and firm, unmoving. You are meant to sit there, and feel: "Ah, I am as firm and unmoving as the elephant!"
All of these facts are also true of the mind which is symbolized by the elephant. It can do tremendous amounts of work but easily gets out of control. And, also like elephants, adult humans rarely test to see if early learning still applies.
The elephant also symbolizes true strength and power blended with gentleness and humility. It has the unusual ability to forget itself in loving others. The elephant's presence in the forest makes it possible for many other species to exist which is why it is called the keystone species by biologists. If we put these qualities together with the mind, we would have extremely powerful tools to use for good in the world.
You can choose which definition suits you best!