My favorite number since, well, since I can remember having a favorite number, is three. Considering this journey I’m traveling on the eight-fold path of yoga, my head says the new favorite number should be eight. My heart, however, says, No. There is magic in three.
When I was in fourth grade, my Uncle Don – also known as My Uncle the Priest – learned of my favorite number. I still remember his big grin. I think he figured I’d been paying attention in religion class to all the aspects of the Church that revolved around the mystical triad, trinity, three.
The truth was, most of my attention had been spent on horses. For me, they defined power, focus, fluidity, gentleness. Especially Secretariat. He won the three legs of the Triple Crown, each one with ease. He was the image of strength and beauty and, oh, how I adored that horse. Three – his race number – became my number.
Yoga brings back the awe and devotion of that fourth grader. The power, focus, fluidity, and gentleness I’d found outside of myself as a girl have become my companions as I discover them deep within. The yamas and niyamas, in their truth and compassion, have given me permission to be gentle to myself. My yoga practice has grown to include pranayama exercises and to welcome – rather than avoid (as had been my tendency) – the power of balance poses. The next limbs, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, teach me to focus, be the witness, to feel and allow, meditate, be present.
More than anything, this journey of looking inward has gently brought me back to myself. I am more relaxed, at ease, in (ah, three again:) body, mind, and spirit. By practicing the limbs of yoga, I am connecting to this unity of body, mind, and spirit. And here is the magic – the strength and beauty – of my favorite number. The eight boils down to three because, mirrored, looking back at itself, three becomes the number eight.