As nearly all Yoga enthusiasts will agree, the practice of posture and breathing greatly helps to provoke the actualization of the essential aim of Yoga to quieten the mind. Understandably so, since a lack of health and fitness in the various systems of the human embodiment can be an energetic/caloric drain on the whole person.
A profoundly overlooked and understated sense that we possess, and one which plays a central role in our practice, as well as everyday life, is Vision.
The late great BKS Iyengar rightly described that the “eyes are the index of the mind”.
One of my most influential teachers, Richard Freeman, was a poet of the art of intriguing the student to apply a certain attitude to the eyes, as a magnet that will carry one’s attention into the body, and the universe of insight available therein. No one ever before, or since, have I heard extend this invitation, live or on digital audio, in the same infectious way.
Our vision is one of the most accurate, energetically demanding, and powerful of all 5 senses.
👁 the visual centers of the brain have been estimated to take up between 40%-70% of its total real estate
👁 4 out of the 12 cranial nerves, are devoted to vision
👁 Visual salience is the relationship between our visual attention and objects of relevance
What all of this means is that, in a practice designed to enrich our function through physical and respiratory movement, places a demand that we approach the use of vision with sophistication. Since we are such visually driven creatures, the ability to tone down the gravity of vision will enhance the development of our kinesthesia and proprioception.
Practically speaking, this implies a marriage between the closed eyes approach of meditation and deliberate movement.
Although the practice of intelligent gazing entails more complexity that is specific to a certain pose, there are two simple methods that can be adopted immediately:
🧘🏽♂️ in postures/movements where balance is not an issue, eyes remain closed (or at least minimally open)
🧘🏽♂️if the eyes have to be open, anchor the gaze on a steady point without wavering.
Never miss the opportunity to improve!