Tarot and yoga can be seamlessly intertwined and become a powerful force of transformation and evolution.
1. Intuition & Answers: Tarot and Yoga are practices that quiet the mind. The tarotist center herself so she can focus on the messages coming through the cards while the yogi focuses on her breath and brings attention inside the body. Both activities bring us into a state of higher listening and help us become the active observer of our present experience. Doing so allows intuition to blossom and we become adept at finding answers to life’s biggest, smallest and most interesting questions.
2. Sublime Structure: Tarot contains a gorgeous internal structure, just like the delicate bones of your human skeleton. Each of us are made up of the same essential body parts from blood to belly, yet who we are, the signature of our soul, the way we inhabit our body, are as unique as the snowflakes in a storm. Individuality graces our skeletons, muscles, and soft internal organs. No two people move in exactly the same way; even identical twins are different. Tarot’s structure is so well organized and simple that a multitude of spiritual systems and themes can be placed on top of it and make perfect sense. Yoga’s structure comes through its shapes which embody archetypal energies just like Tarot.
3. Archetype and Asana: Yoga asanas imitate the archetype of animals (ex. Down Dog) and objects (ex. Boat Pose). One can hold an asana while breathing and meditating on the lessons of the pose just as we may contemplate a tarot card. Placing a yoga asana with each major arcana card offers the tarot reader an opportunity to experience and embody the archetype in a fresh, new way. Readers are who are used to entering the cards via guided meditation or role playing in a classroom or workshop situation will find a new way of embodying the cards through yoga postures. Combining asanas with the majors, and calling the major archetypes to mind while inside the postures is a powerful new way to embody the eternal lesson of archetype. It also merges the archetype with chakras, breath, and motion, thereby filling them and yourself with energy and the universal life force.
4. Sacred Space: Tarot and yoga both allow the practitioner to carve out sacred space amidst the daily noise and distraction of day-to-day life. The practices often, but not always, involve the use of sacred objects such as incense, candles and a dedicated space. A tarotist clears and quiets the mind as she draws cards. A yogi settles down and focuses on the breath to quiet the mind at the beginning her practice.
5. Flow: Both tarot and yoga reflect life as a constant state of flow. In yoga we move from one asana or pose to the next while in tarot, the cards move in numerical sequence, the minors from ace thru ten and back around. The majors run from zero (Fool) to twenty-two (the World) and back again.
6. Personal Evolution: Tarot and yoga are both “practices” or paths that aid your soul in its unfolding itself. Tarot is a visual practice, operating symbolically and inspiring the reader’s creative imagination and intuition, while yoga is a physical practice where the student moves the body through postures called asanas. Each push us forward in unexpected ways and unleash possibilities we can scarcely imagine.
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Listen to my conversation with Theresa Reed about Yoga and Tarot on her Tarot Bytes Podcast:
Inside Llewellyn’s Complete Book of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, I place a yoga asana alongside each of the major arcana cards. It was exciting, although not surprising, to discover so many associations and similarities between asanas and major arcana archetypes. The deeper you dive and the closer you look at anything, the more similar it becomes. Especially in matters of spirit, mystery and creativity.