I know what you're thinking, why would anyone try yoga blindfolded? Isn’t it difficult enough to breathe, find your alignment and balance without the added complication of not being able to see? Here are five really great reasons why practising yoga with a blindfold could in fact be a huge eye-opener for you…
Your ego has to take a backseat. You might hear a lot about listening to what feels right for your body instead of being the same as everyone else or worrying about how it looks. This is the perfect opportunity to practice this.
It’s a rare yoga student who is never tempted to push too far in order to create something aesthetically pleasing. But when you practise blindfolded, your gaze is forced to go inwards. No one, including you, can even see what it looks from the outside, so all that matters is how it feels to you from inside. And your practice will be far more honest as a result.
Your other senses are sharpened. Inevitably, when we remove one of our senses, our awareness of all the others is heightened. It’s like closing your eyes to listen to a beautiful piece of music or a poem. With your blindfold on, you fully tune into the teacher’s instructions, and completely feel the placement of your body on the mat and in space. This enhanced concentration brings much greater presence and mindfulness to your practice.
You learn how to let go. With a blindfold on, there is not the option to peek at anyone else. You simply have to let go of your fear of being wrong, and trust that where you are is okay.
It’s a challenge.
There’s no denying it, practising yoga with a blindfold can be an uncomfortable experience at first. Many people feel more vulnerable, uncertain and less in control to begin with. But this experience of being a little unsettled is a profound one. You find out where the fear is for you and then simply stay with it. When we stay present with our fears, experiencing them rather than pulling away, they lose their power. You can learn more from a couple of minutes outside your comfort zone than months of playing it safe.
You’ll appreciate it once it stops. For all the beautiful benefits of blindfolded yoga, perhaps the most powerful is the extent to which you appreciate it once your vision is returned. You have a heightened gratitude for your sight, and a better understanding of all that being able to see does for you. You learn that you can use your gaze far more deliberately to enhance your focus and your concentration, rather than letting it distract you.
And you know that whenever you wish to find that internal focus again, all you need to do is close your eyes. Or grab a blindfold if you don’t trust yourself not to peek!