If you haven’t caught on yet, I am a yogini and a witch in training. For my Pagan/Wicca readers out there, I’m in the process of getting my 1st degree. For my Yogi readers out there, I received my 200 hour training from a studio very rooted in the Hindu philosophy and bhakti yoga. I’ve been teaching a regular class once a week at my Pagan church since January. It’s been such an amazing opportunity for me because they let me do whatever I want. I can play with what I like and I don’t have to put a filter on the spirituality and the dharma talks. The themes that I have taken on and the direction the class is going, is proving to be very exciting. I was talking to the high priestess of our center and she’s urged me to write a book. I don’t think anyone else is doing anything like this. (If any of you are, please reach out to me so we can swap ideas!) I want to find a way to use a yoga practice as a way to raise energy and use that as a form of spell work to release any dis-ease in the mind and body so our spirit is free to manifest our desires and our will.
In my class I have developed a series around the chakras. One can jump in at anytime, the only thing I ask is that you bring a mat and your intention. But what do I mean by intention? I’m sure my Pagan and yoga followers have differnt definitions of this word. In a yoga class, it is very common for the teacher to give the students a moment at the beginning to set an intention. A Sankalpa, if you will. This can be a phrase, feeling, or image that you choose to dedicate your practice to. And or it can be something to go back to when the mind and body are struggling. In my class I give my students the same opportunity, I just call it a prayer. As of right now, my class is called, pagan prayer yoga. I also give a short affirmation or prayer, so if nothing else is coming to mind, they can use the intention I have set. It’s usually themed around the chakra of that session.
I have completed one whole series and am about to start again at the root, muladhara chakra. I take our journey up the main energy line, the sushumna nadi, all the way through the crown and the then down to ground in the earth, back at the base. I want to go more in depth with my discoveries in future blogs, but the biggest one I have found is that the yoga posutres, the asana, and the breath work, the pranayama, are tremendous tools in raising and releasing energy. For example, one of my students has been struggling with balancing work, going back to school, and fronting a political cause. When we arrived back to home base at the root chakra, she struggled with hamstring stretches and standing poses. I had mentioned a few times that those feelings of being stuck, trapped, or neglected can really get stuck in the legs. After class she came up to me and said, ‘you’re totally right. I’ve been working from home a lot lately and I didn’t realize how frustrated I was untill now.’ This student is a very strong witch in her own coven.
To me, these ‘ah-ha!’ momments are a form of magic all their own. When people ask me what I believe magic is, I tell them it’s finding the sacred in the mundane. No one tells a flower how to grow. No one teaches a child how to love so unconditionally. No one can really tell you how to let go of your heartaches and find your inpirations. You just do it. I want to bring this element in when I start the series again. Not all of my Pagan students are Wiccan, but I want to give everybody a chance to remember what it is they are trying to manifest in the mundane world. Your yoga mat is the metaphor for your internal and external world. When you release your energy on your mat it will carry with you.
My only struggle has been trying to find a way to make this ‘magic’ work in a yoga setting. For the most part, my two passions don’t contradict each other much, but when they do, it’s a lot of work trying to get two different ideas to like each other. In general, Eastern philosohy is devoted to higher enligtment in the present moment. Not that Paganism isn’t, but I think its’s fair to say that lot of people are drwan to the craft because it gives us a different role to play in cosmic dance of the universe. I belive that spell work and magic is nothing more than using the tools available to us to gain a desired result. Who’s to say that giving yourself a pep-talk in the bathroom before that big interview isn’t casting a spell on yourself? Why can’t I go to my yoga class and tell myself, ‘I’m going to rock that interview next week.’ as my my sankalpa?
I think it can. Let’s just tweek it a little bit so we can be still on our mat in the moment. Surely, if I’m a practicing witch already, I probably have an herb blend that I’m keeping in my pocket for positve energy, I may already be lighting a green candle at a certain time of the day or week to send the universe good vibes, ask the God and Goddess foe mental clarity and grace. But when go to my yoga mat, I don’t want to think about the past and I don’t want to worry about the future. So, I will keep my affirmation, my intention, my sankalpa in the present tense. I am graceful and I am mentally clear. It has to be in the present tense. Something like, ‘I’m going to be okay,’ or ‘I will be strong,’ still implies you’re not there yet. I can’t take credit for this concept. My teacher’s teacher, Mr. Saul David Raye held a workshop in my home state about manifesting the abundance of yoga off the mat. But the idea of keeping your intentions in the present momment stuck with me. There’s your magic spell.
When we call the elements after casting circle, we ask the spirits and the gaurdians to be here with us now. Well my friends, we have to show up too. Nothng in the unierse is free, so we also have to participate in the give and exchange of energy. Be here now, be here now, be here now. This is my will, so mote it be.
Blessed be friends, Jai Ma, and Namaste!
When we call the elements afer csting cirlce, we ask them to