Tag Archives: asana

Blind-ish Yoga and Balancing

Last week I slept with my contacts on for a night and gave myself an eye infection. Woe is me. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that I got one. Two years ago I got one for wearing my contacts on a plane after staying up almost all night for a wedding in Chicago.

So now I have to spend 2 weeks wearing my ultra-thick glasses. How thick are they? -750 thick. To put this in perspective, to be considered legally blind, you have to see greater than -1000 with glasses on. I can’t wear glasses during yoga because they constantly slip off and fog during a warm vinyasa class. This means I see -750 in class.

Last time this happened, I spent most of the class flopping and struggling to balance. I spent so much time being self conscious about how unstable I was, not just in balancing poses, but in simple things like knowing where to put my hands and feet in dog dog. I had become so dependent on the visual cues of my physical practice that I hadn’t quite built the intuition to listen to what feels right for me.

This time around however, after a few more years of yoga + teaching students to do yoga with their eyes closed + learning to trust myself more while rock climbing, I find blind-ish yoga strangely awesome.  I can’t look around class at all. I’m fairly certain I was doing something different sometimes because teachers would mis-cue poses or mis-name poses, but it didn’t matter. My balance felt great because I trusted my feet, my core, my stability. Dancer’s pose, handstands, downdog all felt natural.

If you’ve never done this before, put on a blind fold or take out your contacts for class – it will change your perception. Maybe you will doubt yourself at first, but you’ll build on it over time. Fall a few times or fall a lot. Get up, brush yourself off and try. Trust yourself or learn to build the trust.

Upavistha Konasana Inverted in Aerial Yoga

 

This actually doesn’t require as much upper body as it might look. This is more like a party trick that *looks* cool and complicated, but it’s actually not bad once you get over the fear of flipping upside down.

Keep your shoulders integrated into the torso. You can either wrap your hands around both sides of the hammock or put you thumb and index finger around one side with the remaining fingers wrapping around the other.
Use your core strength to lift the legs up and over. Try not to kick up (but if you need the booster until you build the strenght, you can.)

In terms of difficulty, this is one of those cool tricks that *looks* cool, but it’s not hard. A large part of it is getting over the fear that you’re going to die. 🙂

To practice lowering down, see if you can keep your legs lift as you unroll the torso and work to straighten the arms. The strength for this builds pretty quickly if you do this even just once a week.

Vinyasa Time!

This is my day zero. I am practicing pressing up into handstands and I will document the process. I am currently only able to get up with some little hops, but I’ll write out what I have been focusing on to get there.

I know yoga isn’t supposed to be all about the asana, but I think setting physical goals demonstrates a few things:
1. Discipline. How able are you to stick to your goals?
2. Your current state of mind. What is your attitude towards working towards your goals? Are you trying 100% every day? Are you just grateful that you even tried? Have you gone on autopilot?
3. How willing are you to ask for help? This has been a big one for me. Will talk about it in my next post.