I’m going to be teaching a charity event called ‘Yoga in the Dark’ for RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind), which is a charitable organisation that supports people with sight loss.
This is part of an on-going initiative called ‘In The Dark’ which helps to raise awareness of those living with limited vision and raise funds to make every day better. The idea is to experience different activities such as dining, wine tasting, speed dating …or yoga without seeing. It gives people opportunity to awaken their other senses without the use of sight!
For this event at the Bristol Yoga Centre, we are going to be practicing yoga in a candle lit room wearing eye masks. If you’ve never practiced yoga before, it will be extremely challenging to know what to do. I know how hard it can be to practice yoga for the very first time, let alone without being able to see!
So, I decided to try doing it myself to see what it was going to be like. I knew that this wouldn’t be quite the same as teaching a class as I’ve been practicing yoga since I was young and I didn’t have to follow instructions. Still, I found it really challenging!
Balancing and standing postures were particularly hard to do. I kept coming off the yoga mat, as I couldn’t see where I was stepping. However, I also noticed my breathing much more and it became a deeply meditative experience. At the end of the session when I finally took my eye mask off, I felt extremely relaxed. It was so nice to rest my eyes too!
I know how difficult it is to describe some of the common yoga poses with just words, as I’ve taught a student with a serious visual impairment in the past. This was in a private class setting and although it was challenging to begin with, she took it up like a duck to water and could do most yoga postures after several months. It was such a fantastic teaching experience and real pleasure for me to see her development so quickly.
Although I knew I could draw some of the knowledge I gained from this experience, I also know that teaching ‘Yoga in the Dark’ will be quite a different from my previous experience. She had lived for a long time with visual impairment and was used to the challenges it involves. I will be teaching a large group of mix level students that most likely never practiced yoga with eye masks.
So that this event is opened to everyone, I will offer people options of having the eye mask off for some of the time to learn the posture or sequence then try doing it together without seeing. Of course, there will be option for students to have the eye mask throughout the entire class too.
If you’d like to come along to ‘Yoga in the Dark’ on Friday 1st December from 7:15 – 8:30pm please get in touch with me. Suggested donation amount is £15 - £20.