By Mia Barnes for Yoga Medicine.
The spooky season is approaching and darkness comes earlier than usual, making it an ideal time to experiment with your yoga practice. Yoga in the dark is a great way to try something new and deepen your practice. You can connect more to your body with limited distractions by turning off the lights, using candles or even wearing a blindfold or sunglasses.
Here are some benefits of practicing yoga in the dark.
Even if you are an experienced yogi, changing your setting can create a new and challenging experience. Removing the sight aspect of your practice will likely throw your balance off. This is because people tend to have a point of focus when concentrating on balancing. It’s much more challenging to stay in position while practicing in the dark.
You can achieve balance by using your other sensations while tuning into your body and focusing on breathing. One of the major themes of yoga is the mind-body connection, which promotes peace from within and shuts out the outside world. Practicing yoga in the dark can be the perfect chance to break out of your fitness plateau and challenge your limits.
Improve Sleep Quality
Yoga naturally induces better sleep quality due to its relaxation effects. Doing it in the dark can put you in a calm state of mind before bed and promote restful sleep. This allows your body to enter a low state of arousal. It can reduce cortisol, which is a stress hormone that affects blood pressure.
Your body tends to be more flexible later in the day, which makes practicing at night an excellent time. Yoga is already known for improving sleep quality, so why not double down and try it before bed?
A significant benefit to yoga in the dark or with minimal light is that it removes the comparison and competition you might feel toward others around you. It can help you focus more on how the practice feels over what everyone else is doing. It also eliminates the fear or feeling like others are judging you. You create the freedom to stumble and look funny while trying new things without hesitation.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Nobody is perfect and everyone is at a different spot in their yoga journey. Everyone is sure to be testing their limits, especially while taking on a new challenge. Focusing on yourself instead of others can help you gain confidence in your practice.
Practicing yoga in the dark can be transformative since there are fewer distractions. It naturally makes you look deeper within yourself and encourages you to focus more on your feelings than the outside world. As you get more comfortable, you can introduce more complex poses. However, it’s not uncommon to revert to basic poses to create a more profound experience in the dark. Start slow and try poses you may not have done in a while for a whole new perspective and appreciation of them.
There aren’t many drawbacks to doing yoga in the dark. The benefits are sure to show as long as you practice your positions safely and avoid pushing your limits.
Flow in the Dark
When starting your first practice in the dark, you can try simple poses to ensure your safety while still experiencing an adequate flow. These are some poses to try out for your first practice.
- Mountain Pose: Stand with your feet together and arms at your side. Inhale and elongate through the torso and send your arms up. Exhale and release your shoulders from your head and return your arms back to your side.
- Child’s Pose: Kneel on the ground with your toes tucked under your butt. Lower your butt to your feet and stretch the upper body forward and down with extended arms. Your stomach should rest on the tops of your thighs with your forehead on the mat.
- Cat/Cow Pose: Begin in a tabletop position with a neutral spine. You should round your spine and tuck your chin to your chest as you exhale. On the next inhale, lift your head and tailbone upward.
Experiment With Yoga in the Dark
The benefits of yoga in the dark are extensive. Trying something new is a great way to keep your practice fresh and fun.
About the Author
Mia Barnes is a health and wellness freelance writer with a passion for covering topics related to yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine. Follow Mia and Body+Mind on Twitter and LinkedIn!