Yoga Inspires! The secret is in your eyes!
Yoga inspires! The secret is in your eyes!
by Kerry Weavind
How does yoga INSPIRE?
Everything is energy. We all know this. But do we act as if we know this or is it just an idea in your head?
If everything is energy and we know it, then the energy vibration of your body will be directly linked, associated with, influential on every aspect of your life. Yoga asana approaches physical energy to heal, reintegrate, open and surrender. When energy is blocked physically, you will be experiencing blockages in other areas of your life too (even though you may not know it)! So, if you want your life to flow in a more inspired profound way, the answer is simple: get your body moving with the intent and energy of attention on the body and breath, which frees prana (your vital life force) that is a force and power that will unleash your inspiration! If you think you are smart now, start yoga and enter a whole new realm of intelligence and creativity!
The secret is in your eyes.
WHY YOGA IS BETTER WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR EYES ARE DOING:
In general, we are sincerely skilled at surviving life. This means that at any moment, when ‘necessary’, we can check out of arguments, intimacy, reality. It is a universal epidemic that when things get rough, we very likely shut down and excuse ourselves from the hurt, pain, disappointment, betrayal, mirrors that are reflecting back our own dislike of ourselves or humanity, or any other emotion – sometimes even ‘too much’ closeness – that we might feel uncomfortable with.
In my first yoga teacher training, we were taught to look for the cues for students checking out – this was invariably through observation of their eyes.
Eyes closed means an avoidance. This was a blanket statement I learnt and accepted without challenge at the time. I have since heard many a yoga student say that when they close their eyes they can feel a greater connection with themselves. So I started to unpack my training and belief system!
Working through my own experience and playing with the options, I have found that eyes closed can mean anything depending on the state of mind in the action/moment. We usually turn to the body to understand the mind because the body is gross dense energy and much easier to understand as it operates more ‘innocently’ – which involves less trickery and deception from the mind. Through the body we can gain clues to what is happening in our heads.
But, you’re thinking, I am thinking, so I know what is going on in my head? This is hardly ever true. When you really start to explore the mind, you notice that on so many levels any number of things could be going on. You can be thinking of the task at hand, you could be simultaneously carrying on a conversation that happened earlier that day that got under your skin, you could also be processing the emotions of that conversation, and thinking of the next thing you have to get done. If you really look, you could also be processing a childhood drama that the conversation from the day provoked, or the current activity might be igniting. The mind is not so smart, and not so clear on any given day. It can be taught to be an efficient tool to achieve certain goals, but that is also one of its limitations. The mind is also fickle and easily distracted, the mind is also an energetic sheath that surrounds the physical body, and is stimulated into action by the senses, by your experiences.
There are 3 states of mind, dull – gathering – scattered.
We need to know in what state we are operating.
We need to disinvest in the story (the experiences) – slowly but surely, more and more.
Our state of mind is very challenging to be honest about, giving centuries of philosophers fodder for their soap boxes.
If the state of mind you have is dull, closed eyes usually will be a dull state, almost like sleep, or open eyes that vaguely stare into the distance – both of which are forms of escape. If the state of mind is scattered or gathering, keeping the eyes closed, or still will be very difficult, and eyes will be roaming all over the place regardless of being open or closed. If there is
an underlying state of stress in the body, the eyes will tend to dart all over the place, if open or closed. If you can’t open your eyes in a pose, it likely means that you are avoiding something – physical or mental. If you can’t close your eyes, there is also room for inquiry – what stimuli are you searching for to keep the status quo? If you are more interested in what is happening around the yoga studio, with curious eyes roaming, then you have neglected to cultivate inner curiosity and your inner world is being neglected by your loving attention. (usually a habit formed of distraction, learned and repeated endlessly but that can be undone, if the need is there to undo it, to go within!)
So, I have pretty much covered myself here, as all philosophers do, and given every possible excuse and understanding for all possible scenarios. So how do you unpack this?
It is quite simple really: some of the above statements speak for themselves. Inquire!
Then ask yourself: are you equanimous? Is your mind alert and awake?
So, in the context of yoga and making your yoga work for your life: if you always close your eyes – always, try a few months with eyes open. If you only close eyes for certain poses, try to undo this habit pattern and keep them open and still and see if an emotional eruption starts to rear its head.
Yoga speaks of drishti: point of focus and eka grata: single pointed focus
Can you practice yoga with a focal point for your eyes throughout the 60 minutes – quiet eyes, not staring, glaring or hard eyes but gentle eyes, slightly ‘released’ back into the eye socket, soft and not distracted? Then, your eyelids can be open or closed and it really doesn’t matter.
But you need to know for sure if YOU personally are achieving this eka grata drishti!
As a curiosity, test yourself: it is harder to notice if your eyes are wandering when they are closed. When they are closed – for many – they will roam behind closed eyelids, especially when there is a certain unease – in the pose or in life in general (something you are hiding from), take these clues to unpack your stuff!
Make it easier for yourself: keep your eyes open, focused on a spot, manage your distraction, and see what magical thing happens in your yoga practice. When your eyes are still, so will the mind be still, and then you can go inward. Only then you can FEEL. Only then.
See how much more present you become with your body, and how much more sensitive you will become to sensation and vibration through training your mind via your eyes.
When your mind is quiet, there is room for inspiration.
Inspiration is creativity beyond thought.