- If you know me, or have been following this blog for a while, and have thus been subjected to a number of geeky posts, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I collected comic books as a kid.I have also been known to play “ninja” with my cousins, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.Although X-men and Spiderman are the titles closest to my heart, I want to focus this post on a hero that I didn’t necessarily follow all that closely, but who has always fascinated me: Daredevil.
Daredevil’s crime-fighting career began when a run-in with radioactive material robbed him of his eyesight, but heightened his remaining senses to super-human levels. So much so, that he has to essentially fake being blind by wearing dark glasses and carrying a cane, even though his supersenses allow him to navigate the world just fine.
In a yoga class, pretty much the first thing any teacher will (hopefully) tell you to do is to close your eyes. A room previously filled with friendly chatter and catchings-up falls silent, and you can almost hear the sound of people turning their focus inward, signaling the beginnings of pratyahara, one of my favorite translations of which is the “involution of the senses” (thank you, Georg Feuerstein).
Just as Matt Murdock was endowed with superhero hearing, smell, taste, and touch at the cost of his visual reality, something magical happens to us when we close our eyes in practice: like a gift, we receive heightened awareness from the rest of our sensory organs – ears, nose, and skin.
The darkness and quiet that results from removing our sense of vision from the equation is a release, a surrender into the watery unknown and utter vulnerability, and we become daredevils in our own right.
One of my teachers often asks us to close eyes during vinyasa, or flow sequences to strengthen antara drishti, or the inward perspective. This is a fantastic way to practice, and inevitably makes anyone’s practice stronger and more stable. I still feel myself under-jumping when I jump forward from downward-facing dog to half forward bend, or ardha uttanasana, with eyes closed, but I get a little braver each time.
So what say you? Will you step into your inner realm? Go ahead, we dare ya. :)