I knew of course, that this was just a mind trick, designed to test that famous quote by Jois “body is not stiff, mind is“, because when the mind gets on the way in hard-core way, when it crosses the arms like that and says: “No!” as if it was five years old, THAT is the moment to recognize its inflexibility.
|Don’t fall for the mind trick!|
Somehow I came to a truce with it that I would get on the mat without changing into the usual yoga clothes, we would practice in the t-shirt we had slept in and underwear, no need to do fancy stuff.
Literally I was treating the mind as if it was a child. And that is when I heard her protesting, again, that it would not like to see me, never mind the drishti (or pre-determined eye focus point for each point) without my usual shorts! – Can you believe that?
We will do it blindfolded! I blurted – That shut it up. I was only able to do the standing sequence with the blinders, by the end of which I was too sweaty and they came off, but while they were on I learned that:
|What it feels like to talk to my mind sometimes|
The eyes are a limb: No kidding, Utitta Hastha was impossible. I remembered loud and clear what it was like in the beginning, in those first couple of practices where balance was nowhere to be found! Not only there but also in the following pose, ardha badha padmotanasana, gosh!
How difficult it is to retain the balance when the eyes are not there to anchor you, as if they were another limb. And that is when I realized that they are. A dance teacher used to tell me to “use the eyes to grab the wall” back in the 90s. She was not speaking metaphorically.
Noticing where the little distractions go: Even though when I practice with open eyes my drishti is, by now, pretty good, there are still little distractions that I don’t even notice. Being blind-folded allowed me to notice those moments, the places where I go “unconscious” and look out, or escape from the awareness of what is happening in the body at that moment.
Pardon the irony, but it was indeed a big eye-opener to notice that it is possible to go from one warrior side to the other keeping the internal focus and not wondering to find the Hudson River as it seems I am in the habit of.
Slowing down and gratitude: I don’t quite know how John Scott gets aware of how to center himself on the mat (below). All I know is that it was hard. I had to stop and feel the corners of the mat about 6 times, and that was just the standing sequence! I ended the standing sequence in deep gratitude to have eyes to see, to anchor me, to balance me. What a gift!
I have no idea where the blind-folded idea came from, perhaps was from talking to Mikko (a fantastic authorized level II teacher from Finland and fellow student at the Thailand TT in 2009) in Mysore and him reminding me of John Scott’s demo at Yoga Oslo. Perhaps it was just universal intelligence gathering anything that would help me get on the mat and get over the hurdle.
Anyways, here is the YouTube of John Scott, he is much better than me!