by Erin Roca
Upon taking up any magical, occult, or philosophical study, it’s beneficial to refer and relate to a system one already knows.
When I began the study of yoga, I saw some parallels and things I could compare and contrast between yogic practices and the tarot.
For example, the four suits can correspond to the four elements which can be associated with certain yogic philosophies and practices. It helps to make sense of things using a language you already know.
Being a brand new practical magician, I immediately began to see how the path of the yogi can easily be seen as a magical one. We work with the subconscious mind. We do deliberate rituals and meditations to connect to our higher selves. We do cleansing practices and chant invocations.
Now, I am doing magic on purpose and with intention, but in hindsight I saw how just by following the common yoga practices outlined in Patanjali’s yoga sutras, I was, in essence, already doing magic.
And you probably are too.
How? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a look:
1. The Body as a Magic Wand
Although there are many yogic practices that do not involve the body, you probably move your body a lot.
This movement is a representation of the movement within your mind and spirit. Your body is a magic wand, which directs energy and makes your intentions manifest into the world.
2. Reciprocity and Influence
As you move your body and focus on your breath, you recognize that what happens in your body is going to happen outside your body.
By the same token, you may be recognizing that what is happening outside of you is a reflection of what’s going on inside. Conversely, you may see how external factors were influencing you as well, except now you have a tool that lets you dissipate or mitigate those consequences.
In yoga, you respect this exchange of influence between yourself and your world. As Carolyn Elliott says, magic is influence. She even teaches an entire course on the subject.
3. Magic is the Hidden Revealed
The practices of yoga are ancient and used to be reserved only for the chosen few. Now they are available to all and it’s our responsibility as magickal yogis to reveal these truths within our lives (on the broad scale).
On the small scale, we realize and recognize that when we do our practice, things can shift and things can come up. What has previously been hidden underneath our human façade is now revealed because we’re doing these practices that reveal them.
Sometimes it’s not pretty, but it’s beneficial for healing because once they’re revealed we know what’s up, we know what’s there. It’s out in plain sight and we can begin to heal it and shift it if we want to.
4. Ritual and Ceremony
Every single body movement is a part of the ritual – your opening meditation, your mantras.
It’s saying to the Universe and the magical fields and the spirits around you, “We interrupt the normal course of the day to bring you this special time. This is something that contains a lot of power and I honor you with my presence.”
Focused awareness and attention are imperative elements of both yoga and practical magic.
Dedicating the time and practice to cultivating a ritual or ceremony enables you to take yoga off the mat into your life, and take magic from the sacred spell out into the world.
5. Spirit and Deities
In magic, many of us work with and honor spirits and deities. You may also just invoke the archetypes or symbols of different spiritual beings.
In yoga, we often call upon deities such as Lakshmi and Ganesha. We even imitate the warriors and sages of ancient Indian lore through the poses named after them.
Of course, we can do both magic and yoga without invoking spirits or deities at all. But life is much easier with a little help and support from friends.
In essence, yoga can be considered a magical tradition of sorts. It is ancient and spiritual. It is healing and sometimes requires experimentation to find the variety that works just right for you.
The most important thing that yoga and magic have in common is they both respect the whole human person as a perfect mixture of light and shadow, above and below, earthly and divine.
Yoga means union (among many more complex meanings). To be fully human is to be fully united with the above and the below. One is not better than the other, but it is the integration and union of the two that encourages the spark of magic.
How will you continue to cultivate this integration of yoga and magic in your life?
About the Author:
Erin Roca is a magical sex coach & educator who uses lots of tools in her practice: yoga, Reiki, tarot, Theta, subconscious & shadow work, among other things. She taught an online workshop on Yoga Magic and you can access HERE right now. As an avid swearer, she is the host of the podcast, The Curious Cunt. The best way to connect with her is through her website.
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