Practicing yoga blindfolded creates an important shift in focus that many of us do not experience anymore. It’s a shift from how things should look to how things feel.
This was an important progression for me as I had become very good at visualizing my practice. I knew how I should look in every pose and I spent a large part of my time watching my alignment to ensure that my body matched my yoga instructors and the pictures I had seen in books and online.
I am not sure what motivated me to tie on a blindfold one day during yoga. I had never heard of anyone doing it. Perhaps I just wanted to see what it was like. Or perhaps I somehow understood that I had come to a point in my practice where I needed to stop seeing my poses. What I really needed was to begin feeling my poses.
The first time I tried blindfolded yoga, I quickly noticed how much I rely on my vision for balance. I spent the first hour falling over even when moving into the simplest standing asanas.
I realized that the only way I was going to stay upright was through complete focus. I never realized how I used my vision to distract myself during my practice. While in poses, I would quickly glance at the clock, check my alignment, look at the instructor and see if I could anticipate the next pose.
Initially, putting on a blindfold increased the chatter in my head. It was almost like my mind was trying to create more distraction to compensate for the loss of sight.
To calm the chatter, I returned to basics. What’s going on out there doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to just be. Just breathe.
It took a while, but over the next couple of months, I found myself relaxing into my practice in a way that I haven’t for a long time. Being blindfolded stripped me of my obsessive desire to self judge. Instead, my practice has evolved into a gentle way of checking in, both physically and mentally.
Now, moving from one pose to the next, I simply notice how it feels. It’s all in the moment. That simplicity of the moment, where I am able to—just be—it’s a light that shines behind the darkness of a blindfold.
Please note that this is a personal journey into blindfolded yoga, not a blanket recommendation. My Intrinsic Wellness recommends that you practice blindfolded yoga under expert supervision.
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