First of all, I want to say that I don't like yoga. The first and last time I attended a beginning yoga class at our local senior center, I had to hoist my ample rump up into a down dog asana and stay there until the instructor told us to let go. And she didn't tell us to let go. Instead, she wandered the classroom checking everyone's poses, and was taking her sweet time at it, too. As you might have guessed, I didn't stay up long. My bursitis called me a bitch and dropped me to the floor. When I went down on my hands and knees, found I couldn't stand up. I literally crawled to a bench where I pulled myself up, and sat there, embarrassed, while the rest of the class (all older than me) was still down dogging it. Here, I came to the sad realization that I wasn't nineteen and bendy any more.
Magick from the Mat has changed my mind about yoga. First of all, I can practice from the privacy of my own living room and not worry about how I look with my butt sticking up in the air. And I don't have to leave it hoisted up in the air for an eternity; just a few seconds.
Second, Ginvinco provides the practitioner with asanas that are gentle and easy to do. He also provides contraindications for the asanas he uses in his book which is especially helpful. I particularly liked doing the hip openers, for example. I found that the more I practiced, the better I was able to walk. I am now able to walk without a cane. The trick is to be gentle and nonjudgmental with yourself.
The things that intrigued me most about Magick from the Mat wasn't just the asanas, but how Ginvinco deftly melded Theosophic philosophies with Vedic teachings to create a system of yogic witchcraft that is easy to do and is simply beautiful.
Magick from the Mat is not a book you can finish in a day. It's a dense book, heavy with information, and contains everything you need to create deeply moving spiritual practice. It begins with simple exercises like meditation, and moves on to to discussions on chakras, mudras and astral projection. What impressed me most was the chapters on conducting Esbats along with yoga, sequences that corresponds to the wheel of the year, and finally, sequences that are for personal use, such as asanas for inner peace.
Magick from the Mat is a bit academic in its approach and is not an afternoon read, but it is packed with so much information that it may take a couple of read-throughs before you get the gist of everything the book contains. The sequences are easy and gentle; the merging of the Craft with Yoga is seamless and logical. It may not have turned me into a yogini, but I am now very open to creating a witchy-yoga practice for myself.
~review by Patricia Snodgrass
Author Casey Giovinco
$19.99 pp. 240