Could you keep the balance with your eyes closed? It's highly likely that you fell out of the pose when you removed the sense of sight. Trust me, that is natural. And today I want to show you that in fact, it's beautiful, too.
There is beauty in the unseen.
May this overly poetic line start a new series of posts on why it is effective and beautiful to practise yoga with our eyes closed.
What does "practising yoga" look like?
First things first. What's your answer to that? Do you see slim white people performing acrobatics or getting into Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) or Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)?
Hey, even if upon reading my second question you feel a bit guilty for believing this was yoga, you now realise it ISN'T. And that's a good sign! There's much more to yoga than that. Not everything we see is what we believe it to be, right?
But let's not get all philosophical here. For now, all we need to know is that physical positions (yoga asanas) are part of yoga but there is beauty in its remaining 7 limbs. Did you know there were 8 limbs of yoga anyway?
I want to talk to you about proprioception today
Proprioception (read it out loud: pro-pree-o-ception) is what some refer to as the sixth sense, but it would actually make more sense to call it the understanding of your body in space.
If you have ever practised with me, you know I do my best to learn from neuroscience and apply the lessons to my yoga classes.
Proprioception is a fancy name for my inspiration to bring you unusually sequenced classes that you benefit from when you join me live on your mat (online or offline!).
Just kidding. It's a broad and still-not-thoroughly researched area. Nonetheless, let's get to what we do know. Very easy stuff. I promise, I only share what I understand. So this has to be easy! Today, proprioception, meaning...
...our feel of the body even though we cannot see it
I find it incredibly satisfying, freeing and motivating to remove my sense of sight when I practise something I already know quite well. Like... walking. Yes, taking steps forward.
Of course you're not going to be blindfolded and walk up a staircase in an unknown space only trusting your body. That is, unless you're fond of bumping into walls or having your stomach sink as you make that extra, unnecessary last step. Uffff, if you know, you know 😎
But! If you know how to walk or - using a yogic example - feel safe in Warrior II and want to explore it more, close your eyes. Feel the external edge of your back foot. Notice if you're flashing your ribs open. Can you locate your back arm? Is it parallel to the ground and an extension on the front one?
Ready to practise?
Test it in various asanas. Try it simply standing on one leg like a stork. Notice any difference performing it on both sides. When you do, tell me what and how you feel. Please, remember to be safe and practise only in a secured space. Don't overdo it, you're taking full responsibility of yourself.
I don't want to overwhelm you with theory today so I'm keeping it short and sweet.
These are our first thoughts on it. Why is she saying "ours", you may wonder. Well, I am here giving you some food for thought but I want to see you interact with what I give you!
Show me on Instagram how you hold balance with your eyes open, and then with your eyes closed. Tag me at @goja.yoga and let's see what we can learn from it together.
And if you find it fascinating, keep an eye out on next posts!
Comment to let me know what you like about this proprioception practice.
Until next time 🌻