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.
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To enter the yoga studio, we had to line up, hands on shoulders, and follow each other closely to enter into the room through layers of drapes and tarps. Luckily, kindly, Dina had a single candle lit in the room so that we could find a mat, props, and settle into the space. Eventually, once all yogis made a comfortable seat on the mat, our eyes began to adjust to the limited light. Once Dina gave a welcome, she extinguished the candle and walked us through calming breaths as we acclimated to having no sight. The stereo was left off so that the music was the sound of our breathing. Hearing my neighbor breathe reminded me that I wasn't alone in the room and helped panic dissipate.
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.