🇺🇸 Blindfolded Yoga

In my school in Rishikesh I was known as “the one of the Blindfolded yoga”, especially from the second part of the course onwards.


I open a parenthesis to tell you an anecdote.


{I arrived in Rishikesh in the middle of winter. It was February. An incredible cold.

Of course I had only warm clothes with me. Then the lockdown came. In that part of the world the summer starts very early.


Lockdown = Shops closed = No summer clothes = What to do?


I improvised myself fashion designer!

I cut everything I could cut to create my new “summer collection”. Many yoga pants - better known as leggings - have become comfortable shorts. And their "legs"? With the top I made tops, with the knee down part I made headbands and bandanas for eyes and hair that I shared with my classmates and students, especially during my first class as a Blindfolded Yoga teacher.}


Driving my friends and "students" with my new limited edition bandanas, with the help of my voice, the right atmosphere and a bit of mantra's background, was an incredible emotion.




Simply, I was a blindfolded yogi too and, from the first moment, Blindfolded Yoga literally won me over. To my surprise, that blindfolded yogini yoga class was one of the most powerful lessons of my life.


Ah, if you love to wear your mascara, know that you should practice without or with a nice waterproof one otherwise at the end of the lesson you will be a very cute panda. A bit like what happens during Bikram Yoga.



My experience

After many years of practice, I thought that my body and mind were now totally involved in my lessons. I thought I could hear my breath deeply and feel every single part of me involved in the asanas and flows.


Until I blindfolded my eyes, eliminating one of the most important organs: sight.


Never before have I been able to "watch" myself so deeply.

I listened to my breathing as I had never done before and I felt every single part of me involved in the practice. It was also very nice to don't understand if my feet were on the line drawn on my yoga mat or if my partner was safe if I lost my balance during my tree pose, for example.



Why bandage yoga?

Think when you go to bed, ready to sleep. You use to close your eyes to connect with your inner consciousness and to recharge every cell in your body. You use to close your eyes to listen to yourself. You use to close your eyes to completely relax yourself.


Yes, the sense of discipline is strong, but the relaxation of the facial muscles for the joy of practicing something non-ordinary is also really strong.


Also think when something bad happens to you or when you have to deal with a heavy thought. Or when you need to lighten the boulders on your heart. Don't you close your eyes to calm down and to breathe better?


Similarly, practicing Blindfolded Yoga calms you, allows you to hear your breath better, allows you to be alert. It out you on a journey that takes you from the outside to the inside. An extraordinary journey in search of and listening to the inner Self.



What's a blindfolded yoga lesson like?

The practice itself is nothing out of the ordinary. Blindfolded Yoga is just like a traditional yoga class, but with a bandana, headband, or eye mask. It is you, your blindfold, the focus on the breath, the usual solid ground under your feet and all the other senses amplified.


Regarding the ground beneath your feet, you will never test your balance before this practice. That's why it will be crucial to go beyond the daily visual references you have. However, you will get used to it very quickly. It is a bit like after an eye operation. At the beginning it seems impossible to stay in the dark but then, you get used to it.


I also like to think of all those people who for different reasons cannot see. This practice will be something extremely simple and familiar and very, very introspective. ✨🤍


And here I want to connect the attention to the sense of gratitude.


Too often we take for granted things that are apparently simple and labeled as "normal". Like the ability to appreciate beautiful images or the light or the face, eyes and smile of the people we love, or the ability to move made easier and safer thanks to sight.


Yes, just be always grateful for what you have.



Blindfolded Yoga: Beneficts

But what makes the Blindfolded Yoga so different from any other yoga class?


The pace, slower and more aware. Your mood, the air that surrounds you, the space that fills the room. The awareness and the application of all other sense organs.



. Connection:: "Here and now"

The present moment is literally magnified. You will truly be "here and now".

You will be tuned more deeply to your breath and you will feel all the sensations that your body gives you in motion.


You will notice that if your mind changes or moves away from the present moment, you will feel lost. This is why it is important to stay connected.


Repeat with me: Here and now.

. Improve the "focus"

Remember that the focus is inside you, not outside.


The removal of external and visual stimuli gives no choice but to turn the attention inwards and focus on oneself, without ego. This is particularly beneficial for those who wish to embark on an inner journey. Our sight is the most reliable of the senses. As you are taken out of your comfort zone, your self and inner dialogue will become stronger and deeper.


In general, the main purpose of yoga practice is to connect with your deepest Self.


Yoga is not just strength or elasticity. Yoga is not just a beautiful picture on Instagram.

Yoga is first of all listening, it is trusting yourself, it is realizing that the answers are within you. Yoga is gratitude, it is being here and now, without judgment or distractions.


Yoga is listening to yourself.

Yoga is loving yourself.



. Remove distractions, judgement and ego

When your eyes are covered, there is less chance of distraction.


During a normal practice, for example, one often tends to look around, compare, judge or compare postures, convinced that watching your friend's asana you can improve yours.

And if you do that, you are probably aware that others may be doing the same with you and this can make you feel uncomfortable, especially if you are new to the practice.


If your body is telling you to practice an asana as it is best for you, that's okay. That's exactly how it should be, even during a regular yoga class.


Remember: it's your practice.


The great thing about Blindfolded Yoga is that no one can see you.

Just you and your teacher of course. And if you like, that teacher could be me. 🥰



. Amplify the other senses

We have repeated it several times. The great thing about Blindfolded Yoga is that without sight, the other senses are intensified.

Why?

To stabilize you.


It is extremely interesting to observe how our body reacts to help keeping us alive or to compensate when something is missing. Lacking sight, the body will react with an increase in hearing, taste, smell and touch.


For example, feeling the edges of your mat to regain orientation will be the most particular and funny action ever but also much more intense and aware.