On March 1st, the Blind Café assembled at the Santosha Yoga studio with three hours to take a beautiful, light, inviting, hardwood floored space and turn it into a completely blacked-out room. By darkening the room, it allowed for each yogi to experience our other four senses: sound, touch, scent, taste.
Dina Lang, co-owner of the studio, arranged for the workshop to explore Pratyahara (withdrawl of the senses). Dina planned the entire experience, with thoughtful attention to the class, on what we would need to know going in and then led an all levels yoga class in complete darkness. No notes, no readings, only her guidance and her beautiful singing at the end of the yoga practice.
Dina also passed out strawberries - one for each participant of the sold out workshop. In the dark, with no sight, our other senses were heightened. The sound of our breathing and the fans. The scent of the strawberries bringing images to mind summer, light, warmth. The taste of the strawberry was heightened, too.
The sweetness, the lushness, it was almost like you could taste the red of the berry.
It was "a truly enlightening experience" as one yogi shared after the workshop ended. The relief I felt going back into the lobby, the escape back into the light, was startling to me - both the amount sunshine that awaited us and how glad I was to have my sight back. It was an opportunity to explore our perspectives, expectations, and assumptions. And frankly, to be free for a couple hours - free from any worries any yogi has ever felt about clothing being out of place, alignment not being perfect. Yoga in the Dark was an escape from the mirror, while usually a tool, and its feedback about how our poses and our bodies move in yoga. Yoga in the Dark was a beautiful opportunity to simply be on your yoga mat and feel your yoga, rather than see it. If you missed it this year, do try to catch it the next time!
The Blind Café also travels throughout the nation setting up blind dinner events and other experiences in pure darkness. Check out their website to learn more, plan to go to one of their events, and our support them. The Blind Café website.
DINA & Katy