Practice with your Eyes Closed… and Sing March 05, 2015 12:34
By Christa Bedwin
There are two things I have noticed people are afraid to do in a room full of people – and I’m not even talking about crow poses or headstands!
- Close their eyes.
Some people just won’t do either. Before yoga class, it never even occurred to them that anybody would. (It’s unfortunate. Just a generation or two ago, more people sang, and more people closed their eyes in group prayer without fear.)
It makes me sad! Without using these two universal human tools, people are missing the opportunity to open their potential so much and they’re letting their fear block them from so many possibilities. Let me explain.
When you close your eyes, you can see inside yourself. You can get some quiet from all the noise, colour, people and wild visual stimulus that bombards us all of our waking days. You can get in touch with your body and your own emotions, independent of outside pressures. You can savour the joy of beautiful sound in your ears, of unknown tastes on your tongue, of how your body really feels in a yoga pose.
When you sing, you open yourself up to all the good that the world has to offer. Singing heals! (We will talk more about the theory and practice of this in a future post, but for now, listen to the wisdom of the ancient yogis: SING.) Listening to someone else “om” in class barely scratches the surface of its many benefits. You have to do it yourself.
Practice: Close Your Eyes
Once you have enough balance, try moving through your sun salutations with your eyes closed, or try closing your eyes once you are solidly in a pose such as warrior, plank, or twisted dragon. With your eyes closed, you can pay more attention to:
- how well you’re tightening your bandhas,
- where any discomfort or tightness is resting in your body, perhaps creating pain and resistance,
- where your alignment might not be optimal.
Become more present to your meals by savouring at least a few bites slowly with your eyes closed. The passionate cultures of the world have shown us the path – revere your food! Marvel at beautiful sound, or silence – such as the stillness of the yoga studio while everyone’s in savasana.
Let yourself fall a little bit in love with that experience. There’s no one who knows what goes on inside, but you. So why not make it delicious?
This is so wonderfully simple. Open your mouth and say ah. And hold that sound and keep saying ah. Or if you want, sing om. (I’ll talk more about the difference between ah and om in a later post.)
Think of it as another part of your training. You strengthen your legs by doing warrior pose, and you can heal yourself by singing. Just sing! Please try. And if you’re too shy to do it in yoga class, then start doing it in the shower.
No need for complex mantras to sing. Ah and om will take you a long, long way.
Helping Others: Pass It on
If you know (or are) one of those people who doesn’t feel secure enough to close your eyes in public, there’s an actual physical product that may help you feel better.
Dear Lil’ Devas has something that can help friends and loved ones feel more secure as they move through their daily life. We can’t always help people to change their situations – when someone is genuinely in a situation where they feel threatened daily, change might be what we’d hope for them, but we can’t always provide instant change, and we need to be compassionate with allowing people to change in their own time. With a haramaki, however, we can offer them a hug, even when we are not there.
Yoga teaches us that forward bending poses, and self-wrapping ones, soothe us. People who have had the honour of caring for babies also know the soothing, anxiety-reducing effects of a nice snug wrap. It works for adults, too!
Further Study: Aaah meditation
YouTube can be an amazing resource to help share the magic of yoga with friends and students at a distance. I recently encountered someone who had not opened his mouth to sing in decades. He was struggling through a lot of blockages in his personal life and had been fruitlessly searching for a job for six months.
Through Internet chat one day, I showed him this one video of Wayne Dyer singing Aaahhhh.
The next day, people started contacting him about jobs, and they kept contacting him until he was employed. True story.
I think that every person who sings aaaah and keeps at it will experience an opening of their energy body. When you sing (and you can sing) you’re opened up to extraordinary, supernatural strength and healing!
Thank you for reading and sharing the wisdom. I would absolutely love to hear your feedback and your experiences with singing and eye closing.
Christa Bedwin is a yoga teacher and blogger who lives in Alberta with her son and two cats. Over the past 10 years she has pursued training in ancient philosophy, mantra singing and energy work. (contact Christa at: www.christabedwin.com)