“Grab a block, a blanket, and a blindfold,” the Italian yoga teacher said in Spanish.
I smiled nervously walking across the beautiful white floors of the peaceful yoga shala. It’s known to be the most spiritual of the many great yoga studios in town.
Right away we blindfolded ourselves—fastening an old tie over our eyes—which forced an internal gaze.
“At first, it will be dark,” her voice warned softly, “but it won’t be long until you find your own light.”
It’s interesting that light and dark don’t exist without each other—a light shines the brightest when its surroundings are the darkest.
Removing the most utilized sense for 90 minutes puts numerous things in perspective. Here are some points I found entertaining.
I care about perfection too much—even when no one can see me. As a yoga teacher and a yoga student with strong asana, I’ve heard and repeated ideas like, “It doesn’t matter how far into each posture we get, what matters is the journey and who we are when we get there.” I believe this as well.
But for a second, I cared that my transition was undoubtedly wobbly when shifting from high lunge into warrior one. I recognized the need to let go of wanting to be perfect.
Other people don’t see my mistakes anyway.
Trying to be perfect is annoying as hell—to me and to those around me.
I gained some independence and I love it.
Often, my partner and I practice yoga together. Mostly we do our own practice in our own areas but at times we are side by side and hold hands in Shavasana. Other times, we are on opposite sides of the room with only self-awareness.
I gained a bit of independence by not being able to look at him. I suppose we do acknowledge each other’s presence in class with a smile or a second of eye contact. We don’t get distracted by each other—or so I thought.
I found myself thinking of him now and then.
I’ve grown accustomed to looking at him during class, usually eyeing his gorgeous yoga-man muscles and beautiful spirit. But not today. There was only myself to focus on. It was weird at first but I grew to appreciate concentrating on myself. I’m going to focus on myself more often.
Time is controlling and it’s better forgotten.
There is a clock in plain view where I currently practice yoga. Subconsciously, I let my mind wander. The cloth over my eyes served as a constant reminder to let go and simply be. I began to learn again to be present and not to anticipate where the teacher was going to move us next.
I practiced trusting myself.
Spanish is my second language and I find that I look around in class a lot to make sure I understand the teacher’s instructions. I know there was at least one moment where I was blind and lost, doing something completely different than the rest of the class—but they didn’t know and the teacher didn’t care. Six years practicing a language is enough to trust that I understand and not question myself so much.
When practicing blindfolded vinyasa, there’s no judgment—especially self-judgment.
The majority of the information we receive is through our vision. It was more peaceful not seeing my surroundings. My brain was less active with less information. Life happened a little slower and as each person stopped judging themselves, it was as if we realized no one was judging each other either, even though we already knew that.
We as students formed a connection together that day. We shared a unique and vulnerable experience creating a beautiful bond. The other senses are enhanced when one sense is removed, the ability to open our hearts is more approachable. This is an experience that I am hoping to return to often.
Have you had a similar experience? Let me know below!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Matilda A. Juliette
Apprentice Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: used with permission by Luna Vandoorne