When you think about yoga, you will usually think of a person doing an interesting pose with a beautiful background. When you walk into a yoga studio, there will most probably be a mirrored wall or two. The reason being that a great part of yoga is about asanas and we usually want to see what it looks like. It all makes perfect sense!
Except that yoga is about more than just aesthetics. When we look at the 8 limbs of yoga, we know that yoga is much more than just what each asana looks like. It doesn’t matter how advanced the pose is and how well you do it, it is about how each pose serves your body. You can read more about it here.
One of my yoga instructors decided to host a blindfolded yoga class right around the time that the bird box movie came out, so I just naturally called it bird box yoga. I want to share my experience with you, because I think it was one of the best things that I have ever done, so great that I will soon do another blindfolded class with her.
What is Bird Box Yoga?
Even if you didn’t see the movie, you most probably know the plot. In the movie the characters need to move around unknown territory whilst blindfolded. In bird box yoga, we moved through a gentle flow whilst blindfolded, except it wasn’t completely unknown territory.
The instructor that hosted the blindfolded yoga came up with this idea late one night. Here is what happened: After not being able to sleep, she decided to do some yoga to help her fall asleep. She was wearing a weighted mask like the one in the picture below and could feel her eyes moving rapidly under the weight of the mask. This made her think of the power of the monkey mind and the influence it has on the yoga practice. The experience was so powerful that she decided to share it with us.
We all know that everyone’s experiences are different and this was definitely the case here too. However, I did not experience the rapid eye movement, I had a very interesting experience nonetheless.
What is a weighted mask?
This is just a normal sleep mask, but with a removable gel pouch. It is designed to evenly distribute 340g-450g of weight across your eye area, with the focus on calming the nervous system by engaging key relaxation points. Of course, it also blocks out light.
Check out my mask recommendation here
We all gathered at the lovely studio in the heart of Hanoi, she explained the process to us, how to be safe and gave us a general idea of what we might experience. There was a wide selection of masks to choose from and after everyone was blindfolded on their mats, we started.
At first, we did some pranayama. From there we moved into a gentle flow, moving very slowly. I felt slightly disorientated, but at ease. You have to use your hands and feet a lot at first to make sure that you are still on the mat and facing the front of the room.
The first few minutes I also caught myself looking towards the mirrors a few times and had a little laugh. My instinct was to look at myself to see whether I am doing the poses correctly. After realizing this, I really tried to concentrate on feeling each pose and knowing when I’ve reached my limit, rather than looking and adjusting according to what I see.
This was wonderful and my intuition took over. After a few minutes I was jumping back into Chaturanga instead of stepping back! I could feel my body 100% and I wasn’t overthinking it anymore. The instructions were perfect and I knew exactly what to do. I felt so in tune with my body.
After the flow, we settled down and did a very powerful guided meditation and a long savasana. I can honestly not remember the last time I was so completely relaxed. After awakening from Savasana, I was in such a deep state of relaxation and absolutely calm.
To finish off, we were served fruit and drinks, still blindfolded. We had no idea of what we were being served and this made it a very interesting experience indeed. Eating without seeing was a true awakening of the senses. You could feel, smell and taste each item for what it really was.
After eating, we removed the blindfolds and I couldn’t see a thing! I am guessing that my eyes were not used to the slight pressure for 2 hours and it took some time for my eyes to adjust (about 15 minutes).
All in all it was a great experience and I felt really good. I am really excited to do it again and see what I experience this time.
Is it dangerous?
I did not feel in danger at all. The instructor took excellent care of us, but I would definitely not attempt it at home just yet! I do not recommend it to an absolute beginner either and I strongly advise people that want to do it at home, to have someone with them ( to make sure they don’t fall or bump into something).
Other than that, I think it is a great way of tuning into your body and exploring your practice in a new way.
Open your mind
Doing new things and seeing where it takes you can be so empowering. Exploring your mind, body and spirit, learning new things and being open to it all is what makes us grow. Life is a competition with yourself! Always improving yourself and being better than before.
Doing bird box yoga was an eye-opening experience!
Have you done blindfolded yoga? Would you like to?
Let me know what you think or feel free to ask me a question in the comments, I would love to hear from you.