Boasting a number of great health benefits, yoga is popular all over the world. While some people stick to the classic styles, others prefer to try something different. The newest craze in the yoga community is blindfolded yoga. Designed to heighten your other senses, blindfolded yoga is practised with an eye mask, bandana, or some other cover over your eyes. As the style is fairly new, it’s mainly found at Wanderlust Festivals and yoga retreats. However, the unique practice is rising in popularity and should become more available in the near future. If you want to try blindfolded yoga at home, all you need is a soft eye cover and a comfortable yoga mat. In this article, we explore blindfolded yoga in more detail.
Many yogis believe that blindfolded yoga improves your focus. Traditionally, the goal of yoga is to find your true self and connect with your inner being. In some cases, the motions of regular yoga aren’t enough to bring this profound transformation – especially if you’re prone to daydreaming. When your eyes are covered, there is less opportunity for distraction. When holding an asana, it’s common to look at those around you, placing judgement on their posture or clothing choice. When using a blindfold, external and visual stimuli is removed. This gives you no choice but to turn your attention inward and focus on yourself.
People also love blindfolded yoga as it takes the self-consciousness out of the practice. As mentioned previously, it’s common to look at other yogis during asana practice. If you do this, you’re probably aware that others may do it to you. This can quickly leave you feeling self-conscious, particularly if you’re new to the practice. The great thing about blindfolded yoga is that nobody can see you. If your body is telling you to practice the asana a little differently, just got with it! As everybody is blindfolded, there is no chance of others passing judgement on your form.
Another great thing about blindfolded yoga is that without sight, your other senses are heightened. This is particularly beneficial for those looking to go on an inner journey. Our eyesight is the most relied upon of the senses. When it’s eliminated, the other senses are heightened to stabilise you. As you’re taken out of your comfort zone, your ego and inner dialogue will become louder and more profound. Allowing you to connect with your inner self, blindfolded yoga is ideal for curious yogis hoping to learn more about themselves.
With visual stimuli eliminated, blindfolded yoga forces you to focus on your asanas. Once you are confident with a pose, you naturally concentrate less while practising it. For some yogis, this is fine; however, others may find that their form starts to slip. Blindfolded yoga helps you to focus on the posture and ensure your form and transitions are correct. Once you’ve nailed the form, you can reflect on your emotional reaction to the asana. As there is nothing to look at, you can observe your mind and its reactions. Amongst other things, this allows you to examine how each asana makes you feel.
If you’re interested in blindfolded yoga, you’re probably wondering what happens in a blindfolded class. In most cases, the studio will provide you with a blindfold. However, some yogis prefer to take their own personal one, instead. While most studios provide a blindfold, the type of eye cover may vary. Picking up your own allows you to choose one that suits you. If you want something that looks great, consider picking up an eye mask instead of a traditional blindfold. Opting for a soft material will ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the class.
If you’re new to the class, try to arrive 15 minutes early. This gives you time to meet with the instructor and introduce yourself. When everybody is ready to begin, it’s time to put on your blindfold. To start with, it will feel strange not being able to see. However, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you get used to it. If you usually practice with your eyes closed, you’ll probably find blindfolded yoga fairly easy. However, most yogis still feel that a blindfolded class is different from just closing your eyes. When practising with your eyes closed, you have the option to open them. Many students choose to do this when transitioning from one pose to the next to help with their form. During a blindfolded class, on the other hand, you don’t have the option to see – unless, of course, you remove the blindfold.
For the first part of the class, your instructor will guide you through the postures. To keep an eye on the students’ form, the instructor won’t usually wear a blindfold. If they feel like your form could be improved, they may step in and help you to realign. As well as preventing injury, this will ensure that you get the most from the asana. Many blindfolded classes use essential oils to increase relaxation. If your class does this, you’re likely to notice these once the blindfold is on. Although the oils were probably there from the start, they become more apparent once your sense of smell is heightened.
Before the end of the class, the instructor should give you time to reflect on the session. Typically, this will be done in Corpse Pose, a simple asana performed by lying on your back. During this time, you can either remove your blindfold or keep it on – just choose whichever feels most comfortable.
If you’re looking to try a new style, blindfolded yoga is a great option. Apart from not being able to see, the class is similar to traditional yoga. As you don’t need to spend time learning a new style, you can concentrate on your form, movement, and emotional reactions. Before starting a new class, we recommend picking up a soft eye cover and some flexible yoga pants.