Yogic magickal thinking

Published on November 16, 2011 by      Print
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By Matthew Teague Miller, who invites you to make fun of him on Twitter after reading this…

10/10/10 clearly wasn’t loud enough, so we turned it up on 11/11/11, to the delight of many yogis. John Friend, for one, was so excited by the prospects of this “magic moment,” he invented a new form of math!

I am not one to argue with a guy who can invent his own branch of yoga, so if he wants to invent new math, rad! So, 11.11.11×11.11.11=12345654321. Who cares what you do with the decimal points! Just like your heart, he cracked the math code wide open!

He’s in the pocket:

You know how things are totally more magical when you spell magic with a “k” at the end? So does John Friend!

This is why I love Twitter. New math, extra k’s, shri, “Love and Light” — capitalized for no reason. On Twitter, legions of people were pretending that 11/11/11 is somehow not simply a date, relatively arbitrary in nature, from a calendar we’ve been using for just over 500 years — a calendar whose 10th month is actually called 8th. No, the eleventh day in the eleventh month of this eleventh year in this new-ish century makes it a time which is particularly well-tuned for getting your hope on, to manifest your perfect moment (preferably at a special 11am yoga class, donations accepted). A day when, truly, wings took dream, according to what I read on Twitter.

Magical thinking and yoga are well suited to each other. Take magical thinking plus yoga, and add Twitter and social networking, and it becomes like an ice cream and cake party.  Maybe it’s the way we yogis like to recycle trite phrases, or how so many yogis need an audience to condescend to. Whatever the case may be, Twitter is an ideal platform for such drivel. (I am fully guilty of this, having tweeted over 8,000 completely useless, banal, stupid tweets, myself).

While I was reading these 11/11 tweets at lunch, a thought I had earlier in the morning struck me all over again:


At 11:11 — AM or PM — if you close your eyes, and meditate with full concentration and intentional manifestation on what you want/need, it still won’t happen unless you are willing to work for it, sacrifice for it, make the right choices, and get a healthy dose of luck. Today, or any day.


Between all our talk of manifesting reality, sankulpas and karmic debt, you could easily think that if you simply wish something to be true, it is instantly so (so, can I be Samuel Jackson?). That is Yogic Magickal Thinking.

Yoga magic looks at a cool symmetry date like 11/11/11 and imbues it with meaning. 100 sun salutes? How about 111 today? You know, because it’s, like, magick. How about we do some 11/11 breathing in pranayama? If thousands of people stop to meditate for 60 seconds at 11:11 on 11/11/11… it still won’t make my wish to be Samuel Jackson any more likely to occur. Nor will you experience a manifestation-bump, a la the Colbert-bump, if you talk about it being a magical time to a broad enough audience through a platform like Twitter. (But it’s kind of fun to try.)

The only thing that makes “magic” happen is actual work. Good work yields results that often feel magic, but it doesn’t make it magical. Inventing vanishing decimal points or any other hocus-pocus isn’t going to make anything happen that wouldn’t otherwise.

And isn’t yoga based on Hinduism? Right? So, if one of a few different Hindu calendars says we are in the Kali Yuga year 5112-5113, why are we tripping on 2011? These guys live in the future!  People who use completely different calendars with different dates all shared the same temporal moment in time with us over those 24 hours this past Friday. Were their days less special than ours? Considering I spent much of the morning cleaning cat shit out of a rug, I am going to say “no.” Swami Pranam, help me out here.

“Don’t you know?  This hasn’t happened in thousands of years!” said the guy seated next to me, after ordering Pad Thai.

Wow. That’s crazy. No wonder twityogis were so excited about it. “Didn’t it happen in 1911, too?” the guy’s friend, a fellow buzzkiller, says. An uncomfortable silence falls over their table, but at my table I am reading bomb-ass tweets like this:

Boom! Manduka (who makes my very favorite mat, and some of my least favorite tweets) laid it out, suckas! Forget 11/10, or 11/12. Those days, the universe was all jacked-up and shit. Like, for real. 11/11/11 was probably the universe’s finest moment, maybe ever. Let’s just go ahead and call it the “Bigger Bang.”

These are exactly the kind of tweets that make me love Twitter so much. Hundreds of thousands of people, shouting into the yawning chasm of “who cares?” hoping to make a dent, hoping to get a few words to stick, maybe change a mind, crack a heart open, or get you thinking about buying a really expensive (and worth every penny IMHO) yoga mat.

But perhaps we need some clarification from Manduka. What really, does 11/11/11 mean?

The rest of the time, the world is like “Don’t look at me,” you know?

Twitter is a wonderful tool, as you can simply type in a word or phrase and see what other people are thinking about, try “11.11.11 yoga” and look what shows up: 

Sounds nice, many blessings.


Was it a potluck? Was there a Manifestation Creation Casserole?

But then a real buzzkill hits the whole affair:



Leave it to the venerable Russell Brand to be the calm voice of reason here. His tweet and photo from Friday reveal how foolish this whole magic moment 11/11/11 11:11 charade truly is: “11/11/11/11/11…..Damn.” Missed it by that much. .

But really, this is what it was all about for me, in the end: 

Maybe you shouldn’t talk to strangers.  Watching strangers on Twitter talk about 11.11.11, a harmless, funny little numeral palindrome of a day, earnestly and honestly, with a few heaps of pure bullshit, was fun. It does make me wonder what sort of yoga magic we will see on 12/12/12.


About Matthew Teague Miller

Matthew Miller lives in San Pedro, CA with his daughter, Lark. He is employed in the auto industry, a full-time dad and part-time yogi. He makes pretty good spaghetti sauce.

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  1. Chrissy says:

    Love this times 11!
    My favorite part is referencing that one must both work, and be lucky for stuff to happen! Amen!!!

  2. Jenifer says:

    I never know what day it is, and I don’t’ use twitter.

    I’m obviously too clueless and/or pragmatic for real yoga. :)

    • Matthew says:

      LOL. Yes, Twitter is not for everybody, but I like getting to see what people are thinking/doing, 140 characters at a time.

      • Jenifer says:

        My vast and wholly elemental prana stemming infinitely from my heart-opening, melted asana and pranayama svadhyaya creates a dynamic, spiral-dancing dharma that overrides my karma and cannot be contained in a mere 140 characters.

        Or, it inhibits the number of yoga words I could use in a sentence.

  3. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Q. How many yogis does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. It doesn’t take any yogis to screw in a light bulb because it’s really already screwed in and lighted. It just isn’t aware of its true nature.

    Q. How many yogis does it take to change a light bulb?

    A. 10: one to change the light bulb and 9 others to say they learned how to do it differently.

    Get 5 yogis in a room, and you will have 25 opinions on life, the universe and everything ….

  4. EcoYogini says:

    Hah, the twitterverse was a bit ridiculous that day. Fantastic post- and that tweet from John Friend is why I avoid his quotes, interviews, videos whatever like the plague.

    a little aside: the ‘k’ he used in ‘magick’ is typically used by pagans and Wiccans to differentiate between the Disney ‘magic’ and the (very serious) spiritual and religious ‘magick’. It kinda irks me a little.

    Even though I know it was done in ignorance, a little ‘oops! my bad, but it’s cool cuz I’m like an all-loving yogi right?’ moment that happens when someone feels like grabbing whatever ‘feels right’ from various other cultural and religious movements.

    Hah- that sounds a bit rant-esque! sorry about that!
    Fantastic post, thank you :)

    • Matthew says:

      I prefer to spell ‘magic’ with two “k’s” and a silent “q”, just to make sure nobody confuses mine for real, authentic (and also completely made-up) magic that different spiritual practices claim as their own.

      • EcoYogini says:

        wow. that was a bit much. I can joke about a lot of things, but religious beliefs of others (well- and you were actually attacking my own) not so much. To clarify, I was a bit irked w John Friend’s use of ‘k’ (not yours), with this: “You know how things are totally more magical when you spell magic with a “k” at the end?”. I obviously misinterpreted as a bit of a mislead with why the ‘k’ was used- where it comes from on your part.
        I enjoyed your post.

  5. Mary Beth says:

    :-) brilliant. Gee I gotta follow different people on twitter. so funny!

  6. Lucy says:

    Awesome post. Thanks for brightening up my morning here in Australia. If I had a twitter account I would totally tweet this article.

    Instead I may do some email forwarding.

  7. Cookie says:

    From the ever-expanding organic spiral of my heart, I humbly bow to the magicKly, auspiciously clever darshan of your heart. No numbers necessary.

    God, I love this blog.

  8. Don says:

    Funny post, Matthew. I like the point that for anyone who follows another calendar this was just another day.

    By the way. my son turns 21 on 12/21/12. Just in case, I’m going to be extra nice to him until the date passes, starting on 12/20/12 (no sense in spoiling him).

  9. Chrissy says:

    11/11/11 was also Veterans Day….being both a yogi and a veteran, I have to say that there are not many days that reference both :)

    • Matthew says:

      That is actually the thought that brought this whole thing together. While so many of my yogi pals were making a fuss over 11/11/11, I was thinking: “Can we thank Vets for making it possible for us to be so totally self-indulgent today?”

      • Chrissy says:

        I could not agree more..while they are in a bunker with only baby wipes to clean up with, I doubt that they are looking at the sky saying ” oh shanti, Shri , and whatever else”…. And yes, service is a choice ( it was mine), but for God sake, how do people post such drivel without feeling like complete asses?
        Maybe , some teachers could hit the VA and offer a free class to PTSD sufferers….maybe studio owners could hand out 5 free monthly passes, there is a lot that we can do….

        • Jenifer says:


          while in the states, i’ve done such things — tried to reach out to veterans — and while I do attract a lot of male clients (as well as female; about 1/3 of my clients are male, and some classes as many as 2/3 which means my classes aren’t too “floofy” i think), i haven’t been able to drag a vet in.

          I think it takes a vet to being a vet in, and even going to the VA didn’t do much. I was willing to offer free, low cost, donation, and specific-for–vets classes. Not even the gals took me up on the offer.

          What do I need to do to “reach” them?

          I’m not trying it to build the studio, but to offer something that (i hope) would be a value to them. I don’t think it is.

          It’s not that studios and teachers are not thinking of veterans — I certainly do and support a lot of veteran causes — but getting them into yoga hasn’t worked at all. :)

          I think I must be doing something wrong, OR, maybe they only want to take a class led by a fellow veteran?

          • Chrissy says:

            Hi Jenifer!
            They really ARE hard to reach! It is the same with police/ fire/ medics/ and the like. I am grandfathered in and still get the ‘ are you kidding me’ from my friends….we should connect because they truly need that love, a way to find peace and I do believe that you are correct….they need to hear it from someone whom they feel “gets them”. There are necessary walls that they have to put up, so it is hard to tell them to just let go…so I wouldn’t even try….I would come from a place that they understand which would be PT ( physical training) , if the military could roll the yoga into PT that would be awesome! Whew….we have work to do….
            To me it is worth the teasing and the “namaste Christine” said with a smirk when I describe how yoga can help, even a tiny bit… ;)

          • Chrissy says:

            I should have began by thanking you on the behalf of all of the people whom you are trying to help….I have so much faith…maybe I can talk to some officers ( friends of my sis) to get their take….

  10. 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 says:

    The 111111 excitement is the result of a very anthropocentric view, when in reality it is of absolutely no significance. Thanks for the article and pointing this out.

    The use of Magick is often seen in Wicca and my understanding is, it was adopted to differentiate what they consider to be, “real magic” and “stage magic”. Is John Friend Wiccan or is this just further bastardization of others beliefs into pseudoscience laden, new age bullshit?

  11. Lisa Clibon says:

    Loved this, magickally hilarious!
    Now I can’t wait for 12/12/12 (screw the 20__)!! Ohhh, the anticitpation!

  12. Jenifer says:

    in case anyone wanted to tweet about it, I felt compelled by my karma to share this amazing universal what’s-it? right, um, symmetry. . .

    today, I bought a ticket to see the new twilight movie.

    my ticked is number 111811 which i bought on 11/18/11 and i happened to press the “enter” button at 18:11.

    so there is a touch of destiny, no? 1118111118118111!

  13. Get real with your yoga — it’s finally possible! | RecoveringYogi says:

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  14. Get real with your yoga — it’s finally possible! ~ Jenifer Parker | elephant journal says:

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  15. David says:

    They’re not decimal points. They’re day.month.year dividers.

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