Part Six: This I Believe (Chapters 18 & 19).
Essentially, practicing yoga is getting in touch with that constantly smooth stream of fluid water that runs like a hidden channel beneath the quaky, shaky surfaces of life.
Although emotions and human suffering and fragility are arguably tangible things, there’s undeniably a piece of us that lies at the core of our being that isn’t tangible in the least; that remains unweathered by a lifetime of tumultuous storms and seasons.
The practicing of yoga—the physical practice that we most closely associate with “yoga”—is merely an attempted tool that’s used to help better access this authentic, still space.
Breathing has factual effects on the body—bringing us out of fight-or-flight reactions and back into our sane, logical, reasoning minds. However, there’s something about the yoga practitioner that cannot truly be placed into words (for those who don’t hop on a mat and experience it for themselves).
Inhale, arms reach high over head.
My distracted mind peers over my right shoulder, out the window, to flurries of snow whispering by.
Exhale, arms drift down slowly, not unlike these miniature white puffs, landing at my heart with palms touching.
I stand and breathe—I stand in the strength and dignity of my presence.
Inhale, I open my eyes and recite these words out loud: today I will believe in magic.
And as I move and breathe and flow through the rest of my practice, I realize that the only true yoga that happened on my mat was that one instance, with hands in prayer position in front of my heart when I acknowledged that, in life, anything is possible—even magic and my dreams.
I’m not sure what magic is, but I know what I want it to be.
I want it to mean that I don’t always get my way—I want to experience the gutter of emotional shades that I would never choose, being at least partially sane.
I want my daughter to outlive me and I want to be old and happy and well.
I want to believe in God and heaven and a life everlasting—I want to believe in the power of prayer.
I want my husband to get everything he wants, and I want to be the one who gives it to him if I can.
I want my parents to be fully rewarded for their boundless gifts of love and support and friendship.
I want my daughter to not feel the pain of life, even though I want her to live deeply enough to earn it.
Mostly, I want to believe that I’m a good person who brings light and love and wellness into this world, despite my occasionally wicked temper, horrid words and selfish acts.
So, what is magic?
I scan my aforementioned list and I realize that magic is me believing in me. That’s it. No fancy bow-tied packages with cuddly kitten cards taped to the top.
And I do believe in me—most of the time.
Photo credits: Carol Alejandra Hernández/Flickr.