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Does Your Workout Need Witchcraft?

Here's a betwitching way to get in shape for that Halloween costume.

Feeling like your boring cardio routine could use a bit of magic? Well, you’re in luck. A new-ish crop of workouts combine traditional fitness elements, along with a side order of kooky—or spooky.

Author and self-declared "self-love guru" Gala Darling created something she calls the Bad Witch Workout. According to an e-mail from Darling, the workout “marries exercise and getting a killer booty" with “magic, ritual, and mindfulness.” And in case you think that’s the only witchy game going, life and fitness coach Ammo O'Day describes herself as a "fitness witch" who melds classic workout moves with magic. On her website, O’Day describes her methods as utilizing “fitness, nutrition, reiki, tarot, chakra work, and magic to heal what ails you.” So, how can a workout promise to provide magical results, and why exactly would you want to add more woo woo to your daily workout? 

Ashley Turner, a yoga meditation instructor and licensed psychotherapist, who is also an initiated priestess, has been running retreats and workshops for over 10 years under her Urban Priestess brand. Turner says her work is “focused on bridging the min-body connection in a way that’s really accessible to the modern day woman.”

But the real "magic" comes from within. “Listen to your own body. [Ask]: what does your body need today?,” Turner says. For Turner, that can mean running or hiking or Pilates or a high-energy cardio class. “Some days I think I really need to get out into nature, so I’ll go hike in Santa Monica. Other days, I’m irritated or angry, so really hard-core spinning or running would be super helpful in burning off the excess [energy],” she says.

The spiritual benefits of a workout come into play when you become really good at trusting your intuition and following through with what you alone need. Turner believes that by tapping into your intuition and funnelling it into your workout and physical needs, you're following “your higher power, that inner-guidance system that gives you a better sense of self, which allows you to show up in the world very differently.”

But the true alchemy is consistency. Turner says one of the best things you can do is turn your attention inward and meditate at the start of each day, and before working out. Ask yourself “What do I need? What do I want? What am I trying to create today, and what’s the number one most important action that I can do to cause that today?” Sometimes, that’s a tighter bum or buff biceps.

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