Practical Magic

I’m speeding through the jungle down a coastal highway in Puerto Vallarta, with a wall of dense green foliage on my left, and two different shades of blue to my right: sky blue and water blue. It is a glorious sunny morning, and I am in an Uber on my way to meet with a yoga client. The music is a little on the loud side, but with the windows down and the breeze on my face, the zippy beat of this particular music is actually kind of perfect. I’m not sure who the artist is, but I really dig it. My mind stops to reflect on how perfect this moment is. How good it feels to be healthy and alive, on my way somewhere, toes tapping, with stunning views no matter where my eyes roam. 

Into the flow.

I’m struck in this moment by how uniquely mine my life has become. In spite of its relative simplicity, how incredibly full it feels. How blessed I really am to exist in this jungle haven, far from a life that stressed me out so badly before. A life with too many parts that made it all feel like an ill-fitting sweater on a too-hot day. In this moment I feel so fortunate for the life I am living. 

Of course my life is not perfect… far from it. But I often have moments of magic that hit me this way, and I hope I always do. 

On this special morning, I had two yoga students instead of the usual one. My client’s neighbor had finally decided to join us after weeks of open invitations. 

I love teaching new people. There is an element of adventure in it for me, a level of surprise. Here’s this brand new body I have never seen before! I wonder how this one bends and moves. I wonder which pose is this body’s “gift pose”. As any teacher of any fitness modality will tell you, every body is incredibly unique. We all show up with moves that our bodies can inhabit brilliantly, and others that our bodies have no idea how to put together. That’s just one of the beautiful things about body work. 

I suppose it’s a funny thing that while the student is probably freaking out on the inside because of all the things they are worried they can’t do, I’m freaking out on the inside because of all the things we’re about to discover they can do.

I’m excited about the abundance that they’re about to unlock, available right in their own bodies. The empowerment that they are about to experience. The magic. Maybe it will turn out that they can do a great backbend. Or they love twisting their spine, or they have incredible balance. Sometimes they’re just really excellent breathers. It may sound funny, but a lot of people aren’t great at breathing. If you possess a deep, honest natural breath, your brain and bodily systems are definitely being nourished in a better way than many people’s. So don’t sell it short. That’s a gift.

There is no one like you. That’s your superpower.

The whole trick is to believe in your own magic. Believe in the unique strengths of your own body. Believe in the beauty of the life you’ve built, and how perfect it looks on you. Know that it looks so good because it fits you so well. Keep moving toward the things that feel good, disregarding the things that don’t, and listen to your gut when something feels wrong. As a favorite teacher of mine likes to say “if it feels wrong, it probably is”. Always go with your gut. There’s a reason it’s called a “gut feeling”. There’s magic to be found in following your intuition.

When people say things like “I don’t do yoga because I can’t touch my toes”, I cringe, because who cares if you can touch your toes? There’s a gift pose out there for you to find. An actual, physical pose, and a metaphorical one for your life, too. But you’ve got to believe it’s there to be found, that you already possess some measure of magic just sitting there waiting to be unlocked. 

The magic is in your essence. 

There is an empowering way to posture yourself, in places like exercise but also in life too, that will begin to give rise to your own magic. This particular way that you feel the most empowered is uniquely yours, intuitive only to you. Just like our bodies, no two ways of being in life are exactly the same. Nor should they be. 

Finding your way is largely a matter of getting curious about what feels good, easy, and right to you. It’s about believing in your own magic, and putting it front and center in your life. That’s how you get more magic. By focusing on your gifts, and your strengths. The unique way that you shine. 

Don’t worry about your toes. They’ll always be there for you to reach for. And one day you will finally touch them, and you’ll think to yourself “well that’s nice”. Because nothing happens when you finally arrive. There’s no magic in touching your toes. The magic is in the journey that unfolds on the way there, in the moments that take your breath away. The ones that excite and inspire you, on your way to wherever home is for you. 

The magic is found in the curiosity that arises about your own unique empowerment, and in the perfection of inhabiting that empowerment, even for just a few moments at a time.

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