Every few weeks, I check my favorite yoga studio‘s website to peek at their workshop schedule. I got hooked after I participated in the Restorative Yoga and Aromatherapy workshop. And then I had a chance to check out Shelly’s Yoga Around the World workshop, which I looooooooved.
When I checked the schedule last Friday afternoon, I spotted a class that totally stood out to me: Blindfolded Yoga.
Yep, you heard me correctly.
The two-hour yoga workshop was described as follows:
Have you ever closed your eyes during one of your favorite poses? Come join us for an afternoon of exploring your practice in a whole new way…blindfolded! With blindfolds on we will move through basic and foundational yoga poses, tapping into our other four senses. Without external distractions, you will have the opportunity to bring your awareness inward, sharpen your focus and improve your balance. The experience is exciting, challenging and enlightening.
After reading that description, how could I really not sign up. So, I did what I usually do… I contacted LaDawn to see if she’d be interested in attending with me. Not only is LaDawn a blast to be in class with, but I knew that this was a class I wanted to share with a fellow yoga-lover because it was going to something I’d want to talk through afterwards.
When we arrived at the studio, I was a little nervous. Knowing how important sight is when it comes to yoga, I was very curious to see how my practice would be impacted by the blindfold.
I’d never taken a class from Katie before, but she was super nice and I immediately trusted her to guide us through this exercise. Katie kicked off the class with some gentle breathing exercises and then passed out our blindfolds. As soon as our blindfolds were in place, she shared the following quote, which turned out to be incredibly true.
Katie emphasized through the practice that when one sense is taken away, the others become more dominant. I can’t even believe how true this was. As soon as the blindfold went on and I got settled into my blindfoldness, I began to notice sounds that I normally don’t notice, and my sense of touch began much more needed. Example: As your moving through poses, you lose track of where your mat is… but reaching out and touching the mat to find its edges really helped me keep my sense of space. REALLY COOL.
We started the class with some simple poses held from a seated position. Before you knew it though, we were working our way through asanas, moving from downward dog into warrior poses and various standing twisting poses. (Also very cool, she silently took some pictures for me during the class! Thanks, Katie!)
I knew that the balancing poses had to be included in the workshop and I was excited when we had a chance to work through tree pose. Tree pose is one of my favorite balancing poses. I don’t know why, but the idea of standing strong and tall like a tree is sort of empowering. Here’s the tricky part: I rely heavily on a drishti – – a focal point that I stare at while I achieve my balance. Sometimes, this drishti is an actual object, other times it could be something imaginary… but regardless it’s where I stare. To do tree pose without a drishti was going to be a challenge, and I was ready!
In the end, I was able to perform the pose very well and establish my balance. I was really proud of myself, even though I wobbled quite a bit and had to re-center to get back to balance.
Interestingly, I think I also was proud of myself because I COULDN’T SEE ANYONE ELSE and I didn’t have anyone else to compare myself to.
I didn’t have as much success as we transitioned into dancer pose. Dancer always tends to be one that I struggle with a little… it’s not the easiest position, especially with that rear arcing leg. I did my best though… as I did with all of the poses we moved through.
I’ve never had a more private and personal practice than the class I attended on Saturday. While there were five other people in the room, I felt as though I was on my own… being guided by Katie’s voice. I also noticed how freeing it was to not be looking at anyone else, and how amazing I felt about my practice when I wasn’t comparing myself to others.
I’m encouraged to close my eyes more often in class and to look inward, and to definitely take another blindfolded class in the future.
Have you ever tried blindfolded yoga?