Looking up at your Yoga teacher in class is like checking your phone.
...Like a device; there are variable rewards because sometimes I’ll be demonstrating, other times I won’t, so you’ve looked up and there’s no further visual information.
This is all done deliberately, and from a loving place. Let me explain;
44% of people report exhausted and stressed out eyes end of their working day. -For more stats (and solutions) listen to Yoga Pose Podcast epsiode 58.
Most jobs involve large periods of time using a computer, staring up close at back lit screens, eyes flick left and right, they tend to dart around, scan and flick around. It’s fatiguing and changing the way our brain functions (and not for the better. But you already knew that). We’re finding it harder to concentrate, and the constant appeal of our phone will see us stopping computer work to check our device and the eyes move from a scanning pattern to a scrolling up and down.
Other than the eye movement patterns, the impact this has on us is psychological; we’re constantly absorbing new information (some of it very low value) processing and organising visual data. We seek validation online or from a busy phone, we make comparisons and all of this interrupts our creativity and sense of self.
This is why I demonstrate less and less when I teach Yoga. If people are folded forwards there’s potential to strain their neck as they look up, and when they do, the ‘reward’ they get is a body that doesn’t look like theirs. None of us are the same. I’m showing you a safe interpretation of a shape that’s all.
I’m sensitive to the fact that it can be tricky for students who are less familiar when I teach in this way, and of course I do give some demonstrations however I believe less is more.
Students find they soon start to listen to their bodies because there’s one less distraction in the room (me). I love observing students make their own interpretations of postures. I believe in these moments, students develop self confidence and a break from external validation. And that’s moksha which means freedom, liberation, release.
How exciting to play a part in the solution rather than perpetuate the problem!
Have your eyes closed softly whenever it feels safe and appropriate.
Notice how many times you look up at your teacher for clarification.
Before looking up; can you give yourself a moment more as your brain catches up with the instructions?
The flicking and scanning of eyes and the impact that has on concentration levels is a concern. That’s why I have a book group and write blog articles, to inspire people to read! You can join my book group (virtual and in person) here.
Photo by Jonathan Jones.