The Very Magical 8-Limbs of Yoga

Yoga is a practice that exists both on and off a mat; alone, in community, and with teacher; physically, with the body, and on every psychic, energetic, and emotional level.  Yoga is vast – in history, teachings, and experiences.  Just like the ancient history of magic, yoga is entwined with sages, prophets, the gods, great teachers, and students.

My lifelong fascination with magic has lead me to the discovery of the perfect vehicle to not only live an abundant, intentional life but also to share that practice with others.  Upon sudden and acute understanding of the linkage between the eight limbed yogic path, the chakra system, and the many facets of human potential that I had come to blanket-identify as “magic,” I was filled with a sense of purpose that can only be described as dharma – the realization of one’s true life path.

A technicolored chakra system merges with the concept of yoga as an 8-limbed path, and indeed helps represent the defining threads that make up a rich tapestry of magic, yoga, and human potential.  Here’s a brief outline of the connections between the seven chakra system, the 8-Limbs of Yoga, and magical practices as I see them.

Root Chakra – Yamas

In identifying the Self, one develops a moral compass that can be akin to that of the Yama observances.  Folklore tells us that witches and wizards must have a clear, and clearly defined, conscience before safely or effectively beginning any spell.  Many “beginner” exercises include observing values such as the five Yamas, and all belief systems include observances of basic moral codes.  Brahmacharya in particular speaks to conserving one’s divine life force (sometimes spoken in terms of sexual energy) so that it may be directed with intention, purposefully, and without draining oneself – this is a basic rule of magic, as well.  On the mat, one would call upon Brahmacharya to find a comfortable “edge” where breathing is steady and at ease while in the fullest expression of a pose, even if it means lessening the pose or exerting less physical energy.

Sacral Chakra – NiYamas

How we relate to others determines the velocity of our Sacral Chakra; the NiYamas help us put our “best Self forward.”  In Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, he points to a certain self-awareness and bold, honest living as keys to achieving high-level abundance.  Manifesting is magic, my friends! The more solidly grounded into a community (witches may call it a coven) one is, the more successful the ability to move into the higher plane.  Energy sharing circles, spending time in prayer together, and combining talents with other beings are all examples of magical practices to accompany the sacral chakra and the NiYamas.  On the mat, poses like cat/cow, twists, and forward bends can help clear out and balance the second chakra while the heat generated by doing so will purify the body, thusly practicing Sauca.

Solar Plexus Chakra – Asana

Finding confidence, balance, and self- assuredness happens when we become fully human – fully in our bodies, fully present, fully alive.  Asana – or postures – help us expand the horizons of our physical beings while literally and mentally increasing flexibility.  Power comes from within – and this golden yellow energy center generates a lot of it!  Moving the body around, balancing it, and celebrating its sanctuary is a fabulous way to awaken the third chakra – AND – it is involved in a lot of practices new and old.  The magical compliment to the 3rd Limb is ritual – physical, literal practices that involve the body, human actions, and earthly objects, places, and materials.  Practicing physical asana yoga postures, especially on a set routine, returns power to the yogi and activates the yellow/gold energy center as well!

Heart Chakra – Pranayama

“Love is blind!” All healing comes from the heart.  Arch Angel Raphael is known for his green light and ability to miraculously heal – this fifth chakra is associated with the color green and is the place of emotional healing and forgiveness.  Pranayama teaches us to control our breath, focusing it entirely inward until we become aware of our energetic body – our pranic body, or aura, or field of energy.  Intentional manifestation and the healing arts all happen from this kosha, or layer of the self.  Magical examples of the heart chakra and pranayama include literally healing the sick and the ability to ground or otherwise energetically influence someone.   Carlos Casteneda’s luminous egg theory (the idea that all human energy exists in a luminous white egg-shaped cluster of energetic threads circling out from the center of the chest – and that these threads connect us to and interact with the threads of all other matter) directly correlates to the heart chakra as accessed through Pranayama, and is one of my favorite recent explanations of medicine-man magic.

Throat Chakra – Pratyahara

Pratyahara teaches meditation:  withdrawal of the physical senses in order to turn on our inward ones; it is literally the act of engaging the throat chakra! Though the throat is often associated with using the physical voice – and can be powerfully active in practices like chanting – it is firstly about becoming aware of inner truth.  One must turn off worldly distractions and focus deeply and honestly within, if one wishes to connect with the energies of Spirit.  Channeling experiences like meeting Spirit Guides, contacting or recognizing signs from passed loved ones, recognition of orbs, rainbows, halos, and other Light forces – all of this magic comes during a state of meditation!  All magic is meditation.

Third Eye Chakra – Dharana

Immovable focus; intense alignment with intention; flow – all of these are names for the experience of Dharana, and also the place from which all divination, intuition, and Knowing originate in the body.  Accessing the third eye through practice of Dharana, which is easy to do in Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga, is literally tapping into magical knowledge.  It is opening the Self to experiences of otherworldly knowing, deeper awareness, and massively heightened intuition.  Archetypical magical people, and indeed current spiritual leaders, are heralded for their wisdom and intuitive abilities – often referred to as “looking right through” people, problems, and the physical realm.  Psychic abilities, dream work, divination, readings, and “Seeing” are all magical, third eye, and Dharana practices.

Crown Chakra – Dhyana

This state of being intensely, acutely, divinely aware is sometimes referred to in yoga and meditation as being “the watcher” or “the observer.”  It speaks of a place of total detachment from any distractions, outcomes, emotions – simply having the experience of witnessing the experience.  Perfectly so, the crown chakra is the gate of this awareness:  crown chakra is the place of communion with deity, connection to Source, and a literal open mind through with major informational, healing, or transcendent downloads happen.  Prophets, or the ability to prophesize, can access Dhyana and focus their crown chakras to communicate with the divine!

Samadhi – the 8th limb and the “Whole Yoga Body”

Oneness, deep connection with everything – the bliss body – is the deepest self in terms of koshas and represents something deeper and more encompassing than any one chakra; indeed, Samadhi is represented by the entire chakra system, that with which it interacts, and the source of its constant energy.  Samadhi is recognition of and connection with the entirety of divine energy – and in magic, is a transcendent, astral, or god – experience.  Savasana, or corpse pose, invites us to experience Samadhi and transcend our energetic bodies.

Magical Yoga

In personal practice and through becoming a teacher, I intend to weave together the ancient stories of an eight limbed path of yoga, the seven chakra system, all forms of magic, and human energy potential.  It is through this Magical Yoga path that I will inherit my dharma and empower myself and others to manifest that which we desire, thus creating the world in which we want to live, peacefully, blissfully, wholly together.

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