I had no idea what to expect from a blindfolded yoga class. I assumed that I would love it, which I did, but the assumption came more from the silliness of the idea: the group giggle factor and how clumsy and childlike it would be... which it was.
What I found under the blindfold (within the first 90 seconds or so) was a whole new playing field that I hadn't touched in with for some time; simply forgotten. As a yoga instructor and general enthusiast of self-exploration, I am constantly reminding myself and those around me: look within.
KNOW THYSELF! Dip in! Get into you! It's all in there.
Under the blindfold I became totally aware of how inherently programmed we are as humans to rely on our senses and how far you can actually dip without just one of them. Even standing in tadasana or moving into a childs pose took so much inner detail and refinement because I couldn't just "go there". And that's where the fun began...
The giggles I was seeking were there in that room; trust that 35 people wobbling and fumbling around on their mats is a good time. The sense of community in the room was heightened because, although you are constantly surrounded by community in a yoga class, this time we all shared a common challenge. The sense of realization was awakened. The new understanding. There was no opportunity for comparison or latching onto stories of why other people are better at some poses than you. Not once did I think "I wonder if lululemon has those tights she's wearing in stock... I should pop in after yoga... blah blah blah."
It became clear to me how much visual information facilitated my personal process. Yes, the physical practice of yoga may be easier when you can see what you're doing at times, but in the darkness of the blindfold I really had to check in constantly and remain radically present to let the practice flow.
I like to think that it was this grounding and mindfulness that kept me somewhat upright, not the sneaky wall spot I snagged for the workshop...! I swear I only grabbed onto it during 7 poses.
To dip inside your vessel and really sink into your underground is an illuminating and important place to be. We all practice yoga for different reasons with the underlying desire of calming the mind. When it's just you in there, no help nor distraction from the outside world, you are connecting with your source.
I truly believe that is yoga.
So eventually the blindfold comes off and we all blink a few times and just sit. I wiped away a few tears of joy and really just sat there, looking at my hands. Ah, those hands!
And then we all gathered round and talked about it. Hearing everyone's sensations with this process was humbling and exciting.
The experience was so unique I feel we could have talked all night.
International photographer and crazy eye ninja, Pete Longworth, showed us his view that night. His art of seeing. After we took that time within, totally void of sight, we re-entered back into the visual field with a new wonderment. Pete explained this as his art. This can be all of our art. To revel in the beauty of everything just by paying a little closer attention, that is the Art of Seeing.
Here's a lovely video recap of the last Art of Seeing event at the studio.
We are ecstatic to have Pete back in the building this Friday, May 9th joined by Myrah Penaloza to lead us through this experience. Click here to register for the second instalment of The Art of Seeing.
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