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Magic, on the mat

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:26pm
My 19-month old calls yoga “magic”. Although I couldn’t come up with a better description for it myself, I can’t help but be amused by his unintended insightfulness. He saw a video a few weeks ago of a famous contortionist yogi practicing on the mat and ever since, yoga is, for him, magic. For me too, Yoga is magic, however, for entirely different reasons. I find my moments on the mat quite magical. It transforms the present and makes the moment feel light and beautiful. Every time I feel exhausted before my practice, I come real close to giving up and making myself a drink instead. But something makes me get on that mat anyway and I must say, it is well worth the effort.

Sometimes though, yoga feels like a battle on the mat. A battle with my mind and body that is. As I fight it out to stay focused and present, I gain the benefits of it indirectly. I may not notice at the time, but I do feel transformed by the end of it. It’s amazing. When I am present in my practice, I become present in everything I do after that. It calms me down. I have two kids, you see and they can be quite an impossible handful, lovely though they be. It also makes me a better mother when I practice yoga regularly. It gives me some space and time to myself (well, with my son jumping on me and my daughter talking to me non-stop), but they do get the point sometimes and stay away from me, especially when I am trying a difficult asana!

The idea is (for me anyway) to practice, even if it is for just a few minutes. Those few minutes of simply sitting on my mat, in, say veerasana or doing a stretch from the pawanmuktasana series, can induce a feeling of serenity. Two things I must say here:

1. My mat has seen years of yoga practice from me. I don’t always treat my mat with the reverence it deserves, but somehow, despite that, it seems to hold the wisdom and energy of many years of sadhna. It comforts me.

2. My body is so used to the effects and benefits of my practice, it takes only a few seconds for its own intelligence to kick in and for it to start generating the healing response from within itself.

If this isn’t magic, then what is. It is the truth pure and simple – a stretch a day keeps dis -ease at bay. It has become a code word for yoga at home – and when we bring the mats out for a yoga practice, we say to one another “let’s do magic”!
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