Awaken the Magic
Awaken the Magic
Blending Yoga and Tarot Awakens Intuition
by Alison DeNicola
The popularity of yoga has boomed in recent years with many individuals attending all types of yoga and meditation classes and workshops throughout the country. It is not uncommon for class attendees to move into the teaching role and then advance the practice and benefits of yoga for both themselves and their students.
One of the many benefits of yoga practice, whichever method someone may choose to explore, is the ability to calm the mind and to begin the journey of uncovering the inner landscape. This inner plane is the place where we can tap into intuition and the subconscious mind in a meaningful and practical way.
Two seemingly different but complementary holistic practices are yoga and reading the tarot. Tarot is a system of cards, most commonly 78, which represents the archetypes and symbols of an individual’s personal journey. The tarot originated several hundred years ago from an Italian playing card system that was used to give insight and predict future events. Tarot evolved over time and in the early 20th century, the most popular of our modern tarot decks was born in England. The Rider Waite deck is most likely one whose imagery you have seen or experienced, whether you’ve had a reading or seen tarot cards in books in the movies. This card deck is iconic; the images are known to many and have become part of our collective consciousness. The archetypes (major arcana) and the suits (wands, swords, cups and pentacles), as well as court cards, offer us access to the many scenarios, potential actions and energies present in our life experiences.
What does this have to do with yoga? How do yoga and tarot come together? Interestingly enough, these two different systems of self-exploration make an excellent match. Many of the postures of yoga are representative of the archetypes we find in the tarot. For example, plank pose or four-limbed staff pose connects well to the Emperor card. This energy is dynamic, structured, masculine and connected to the number four, the number of foundation.
The suits of tarot represent the qualities of fire, air, water and earth—just as our yoga practice embodies the five elements. The element of space becomes the container where everything comes together, just like the yoga mat is the space for change and self-knowing. The court cards, which represent people in our lives, become the many faces that we are and have experienced over time.
Guided meditation is also a powerful practice when we use the archetypes for exploration and personal growth. Our imaginations just seem to flow a bit easier when we feel connected through images that are in the collective awareness. It is also a wonderful practice at the end of yoga movement, as the body and thinking mind have had some release and the subconscious mind is encouraged to rise to the surface. Meditating on images from the tarot—such as the High Priestess—can access powerful information about our own intuitive nature. Even for those who are not particularly visual, when space is created, sensations and deeper awareness can arise. This is another wonderful blending of yoga practice and imagery from our modern tarot system.
In this age of change and seeking, we are all being guided to transcend the old patterns and awaken our own inner magic. One might choose to select tarot cards to set intention, meditate on images or use the tarot as an integration practice at the end of a traditional yoga class. Pairing these two popular and experiential systems together can be a powerful way to redirect focus and move ahead with a greater sense of intuition, overall well-being and balance in body, mind and spirit.
Alison DeNicola is a Connecticut-based teacher of yoga, meditation, energy and tarot. She is the author of five inspirational card decks, all published by US Games Systems Inc. She will be teaching a Kripalu weekend workshop, “Awaken Your Inner Magic: Yoga and Tarot”, with author Sasha Graham, in February. Connect with her at [email protected] or AlisonDeNicola.com.