The beauty of the blindfold
By Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press November 12, 2013. Posted with permission.)
The more we rely on sight, the more externally oriented we become. Some estimates are as high as 80% of what we know is gathered by sight.
But yogini Rina Jakubowicz of Miami said that the more we rely on sight, the more we flatten and ignore our intuition as well as our other senses which can provide a plethora of information and truth.
Jakubowicz has been teaching blindfolded yoga for years and hopes to help people to develop their intuitions through the practice.
Yoga is a practice that is designed to take the student inward, to shut out all the external noise, and get in touch with the authentic self. Jakubowicz has been a yogini for 14 years, and during classes, she noticed how students’ eyes darted around the room, visually mimicking or criticizing others. She observed people judging themselves more than judging others in class.
“With the blindfold, we are faced flat out with our own stuff. We can get in touch with who we really are,” she said.
Practicing yoga sans sight isn’t easy. Everyone in the room seems unnaturally close, and the deep yogic breathing sounds like lions and tigers and bears circling your mat. You’re wary of touching someone else (what’s wrong with that?) and you do touch other people. You fall. It’s okay because they are touching you, too (and falling), and you don’t mind.
Balance is revealed to be heavily sight-dependent rather than within the self, and the blindfold forces you to use your spatial senses and intuition to feel other people.
Off the mat, the blindfold can continue to develop your other senses, including your intuition.
Eat blindfolded. Sit at the table and orient your plate and beverage. Turn off all music and television before you lower your blindfold. Focus on using your intuition to cut your food, fill your fork, and raise it to your mouth. Smell the morsel you’re about to place on your tongue. Chew each bite 20 times. Notice the nuances of flavor, the crunch (or lack thereof), the texture and the sensation of swallowing. If anything, this will slow you down.
Build and demonstrate trust with the blindfold. Allow your young child to take you by the hand and guide you around the house while you’re blindfolded. Let your children see that they can be trusted. Run a 5K blindfolded with a guide by your side. Of course, you’ve practiced shorter distances first.
Blindfolded games. Attempt foul shots with the basketball. Play blindfolded catch with a beach ball. Who said Pin the Tail on the Donkey was for kids only?
The Blindfolded Crooked Maze. Masking-tape a jagged line on the floor either across the room or in a haphazard circle. When you step to the circle with bare feet, lower your eye cover and let your feet slide across the tape, leading your way.
Blindfolded journaling. Keep this journal by your bed. Lower your eye cover, and open your journal to the bookmarked page. Let it rip. Empty all the stuff that’s been flying around your head, negative or positive. Then, bookmark this page, and let it go. You will never see what you released again, and that is good. But, if you want to read it again, knock yourself out.
Paint or draw blindfolded. Release the inner censor, and allow the images to emerge from within.
Have sex blindfolded. It’s just a suggestion.
For more information visit www.rinayoga.com