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How Yoga Could Have Helped the World of Harry Potter

Jena Hintze on Feb 10, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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The international phenomenon that is Harry Potter enchanted the world when it first released and continues to grow even today. It has everything you could ever want. Heroics, romance, magic, danger, Quidditch, and Butterbeer.  The books are incredible, and luckily the movies captured the magic. There are theme parks dedicated to it’s splendor. You can find out your patronus, which house you belong to, and what kind of wand fits you best. Yet, the Wizarding World is missing one thing….

Yoga.

There is so much stress and resentment and worry that goes on throughout the series that could have been helped (or possibly prevented) had Harry and his friends got their sun salutation on.

In this article, I’m going to suggest a signature pose for some of the main characters and how their lives might have been a little easier had they practiced these poses.

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Rubeus Hagrid – Tadasana or Mountain Pose

Imagine big, loveable Hagrid standing at his full height with his eyes closed, face relaxed, and fingers spread wide at his sides. He goes from an intimidating figure to an absolute fear-striking man. As this is a stagnant pose, it requires a lot of inward reflection and focus on breathing. This pose would allow Hagrid to find his center and separate himself from all of the misconceptions that followed him throughout his life. He would likely think quicker on his feet as he continued his practice. This would have prevented the confusion over the chamber of secrets and he would have been able to better think his way through difficult situations as he connected, body and mind.

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Minerva McGonagall – Marjariasana or Cat Pose

Often depicted as a strict leader and since she can transfigure into a tabby cat, Marjariasana is a very practical choice for Professor McGonagall. One of the benefits of this pose is that it stretches the back and torso. I don’t know about you, but I imagine standing and sitting rigidly as she does would result in strong (sometimes fatigued) core and back muscles. The soft rounding of the back in Cat Pose would have allowed her relaxation amidst her heavy responsibility at Hogwarts and the tumultuous, uncertainty of Voldemort’s terror.

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Severus Snape – Vrksasana or Tree Pose

One of the main objectives of tree pose is to establish balance. For a man who lived a large part of his adult life as a double agent, finding balance would have been essential. As Snape was so successful in this endeavor, this practice would have been supplemental. Yet, it would have also served as a metaphor for his life. Trees are considered symbols of endurance. They withstand most natural forces and are constant and deeply rooted. This imagery harkens very clearly to Snape’s life-long love for Lily Potter. He was constant as a tree, loving her always. Perhaps his practice of Tree Pose would have brought him peace in an otherwise sad and difficult life.

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Luna Lovegood – Camatkaransana or Wild Thing

If you’re familiar with the Harry Potter series, you’ll know Luna Lovegood dances to the beat of her own drum. She’s quirky and a bit of an outcast, but she’s all the more loveable because this doesn’t seem to phase her in the slightest. She’s a true Wild Thing; a person who lives her life regardless of what others think. This pose is an advanced back bend and alters the individual’s perspective as they would see things upside down in this pose. With Luna’s unique perspective on life, she should be right at home in Wild Thing.

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Ron Weasley – Spider Pose

Ron’s arachnophobia is well documented throughout his time at Hogwarts. At the young age of three, Ron’s brother turned his teddy bear into a spider and Ron’s extreme fear began. It was tested heavily in his second year when he and Harry found themselves attacked by monster-sized spiders in the Forbidden Forest. I wager that should Ron ever pick up yoga (which I think he would have been quite reluctant to do) he would have found a great deal of peace from Spider Pose. By embracing his fear and surrendering into a pose that mimics a spider’s body composition, maybe they wouldn’t have been so scary.

But, to be honest, my hopes are not high for Ron and yoga.

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Hermione Granger – Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II

Ever the over-achiever, Hermione would have met the challenge of yoga head-on and pursued difficult poses quickly. Yet, as any yogi knows, it is not all about effort. It’s about finding balance and acceptance through the pose. While Warrior II looks fairly simple, it isn’t. It requires a great deal of focus, an area in which Hermione never lacked. Additionally, one of the outcomes of practicing Warrior II regularly is increased stamina. I believe this would have been especially helpful as Hermione took on a heavier load of classes and time traveled in the third installment of the series.

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Harry Potter – Virasana or Hero Pose

Harry’s pose was a fairly easy choice. As the hero of the Wizarding World, not once, but twice, this pose only made sense. I imagine Harry’s practice would happen late at night after waking from one of his dreams (or premonitions, really) about Voldemort. He would seek relaxation and peace. This is where Hero Pose would come in handy. One of the benefits of the pose is that it can soothe headaches, something Harry could have found helpful throughout his time at Hogwarts fighting Voldemort.

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Albus Dumbledore – Sirsasana or Headstand

As the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Dumbledore held a great many responsibilities. Yet, I can’t think of one instance in which he seemed stressed out. The guy was always zen. How is that even possible? My theory is that he was a master of the Headstand. Can’t you imagine Dumbledore resting lightly (possibly floating) in a headstand, pondering the intricacies of life and the dangers his pupils faced? Sirsasana is known for calming the brain and relieving stress. Like Luna’s Wild Thing pose, it also gives the individual a new perspective on the world as they meditate upside down. Dumbledore’s perspective was always unique…possibly because of his headstand meditations. Doesn’t seem too far-fetched if you ask me.

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Lord Voldemort – Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

I saved the worst for last. Choosing Cobra Pose for Voldemort comes from two very opposing factors. First, as a Slytherin and a Parseltongue, Voldemort has a clear connection with snakes. Throughout history, snakes are akin to evil and danger; something that is clearly captured in Voldemort’s character. Yet, the second reason I chose Cobra could have prevented all the torment Voldemort inflicted. Had Voldemort practiced Cobra he would have reaped the benefits, namely opening his heart. As the individual holds this pose, their chest is open, allowing stress and worry to leave and peace and understanding to enter. Cobra could have softened Voldemort and planted empathy in his heart. Perhaps, all of his rage and harm could have been prevented with the practice of Cobra.

Yet, we know that was not the case for him.

ISU Continuing Education and Workforce Training is going to delve even deeper into Yoga and Harry Potter this summer. Be on the lookout for our catalog hitting mailboxes in late April and plan to join us for Basic Yoga or Harry Potter Camp. You can contact us at (208) 282-3372 or register online at cetrain.isu.edu or more information.

As you learn more about each topic you’ll have to let me know what you think of my theory!

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