not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beach, Bridget, Barley and Blindfolds.

The sun was shining, so I texted my friend Bridget and asked if she wanted to hang out...maybe take Barley down to the beach. It wasn't Costa Rica, thats for sure, but it felt so good to feel the sand between my toes and let the sunshine warm my face. Bridget and I scoured the beach for treasures (she loves collecting sea-paraphernalia) while Barley chased the ball and ran through the ocean. Afterwards we headed back to her and her husbands new house!! It's adorable and cozy, and you feel at home as soon as you walk through the door. Since we are both avid yogi's we started to mess around with some concepts for the nights class that we had discussed on our walk. We both love Mark Whitwell, so the ramble part of my class was inspired by some of what we've connected with in his book Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection.

"Enlightenment does not look like anything or conform to any cultural model of perfect behavior or beatitude. It is simply an understanding and enjoyment of the obvious perfection, which is Life."

So often EVERYONE in class is looking around - assessing their neighbors, comparing their poses and their bodies with those of the people around them, instead of realizing that each body and personality and yoga practice is totally authentic. I have been wanting to do a blindfolded class for a while now, so I figured that this would play into the lesson that I wanted to get across. With a blindfold on you can't try to conform to the exact interpretation of the pose from my perspective, or to your neighbors. It is completely and utterly your own. Another great lesson that comes along with the blindfold is the connection to your BREATH.

"To be with the breath is to be with that which is breathing us."

I constantly ramble on about how important your breath is: how it takes you into poses, and out of massages you deeper and tells you when to back off...and it allows your body to relax and absorb any sensations that arise. In LIFE, in YOGA, your breath is EVERYTHING. With your sight removed your whole yoga experience changes, and you realize that your breath is the only thing that will be able to guide you through practice.

Bridget, being my blindfolded guinea pig....

Anywho - Bridget and I messed around at the house, figuring out what worked and what was too confusing or challenging. I also had to be VERY specific with my cues - afterall you weren't able to just look up and find the posture that I was talking you into!

Barley and Bridget in Down DOG....

After coming up with a flow we enjoyed some coffee, snacked a bit, then Bridget read some Nat Geo while I came up with an [instrumental] playlist.

Circling with the breath, blindfolded....

Simply standing in Tadasana becomes a whole new experience with the blindfold....

A blindfolded Bridget binding....

Class was a GREAT success. Of the 11 people there was only one person who said that they DID NOT like it and would love it if he never did blindfolded yoga ever again. Two people approached me about how apprehensive and anxious they were about it during the first several minutes of class. One woman even said that she thought about walking out. But once she relaxed with her breath and TRUSTED her body and breath she was able to simply BE with her experience. I also received 5 text messages after class saying that blindfolded yoga was pretty much the most epic thing that they have ever done in the classroom! All in all, a totally unique yoga experience. Next weeks Wednesday morning Yin we will experiment with eliminating another sense: sound. The yin practice will be TOTALLY silent...the transitions being signaled with my tibetan singing bowl. The practice will be written out on little sheets for everyone and the room will be completely quiet. Yeeeww!! Thanks to my yoga students and to my friends for the constant inspiration to take our classes to the next level!!!

"Simply BE with your experience."

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