Have you ever worn a blindfold? One of my friends gave me a wonderful treat for the senses when she put a blindfold across my eyes. She fed me delicious foods such as banana and mandarin segments. The texture of the fruits tickled my lips before juicing up my taste-buds. She whispered uplifting phrases into my ears and played sweet music in the background. My nose experienced delightful aromas as she held bottles of fragrance below my nostrils. She massaged my hands with essential oils and I melted into the plethora of sensory experience.
In this modern world we are all too easily led by arguably our most powerful sense: sight. We are bombarded with the bright neon lights of the city and the visual advertising brands. Our eyes are so powerful that when we try to close them for meditation we can’t help but open them now and then for a quick glimpse of our surroundings or the person in front of us. We are so attached to our sense of sight that we find it difficult to ignite the remaining four. In yoga, we often talk about reaching a balanced state. Should we not apply this balance to each of our five senses as well?
‘Pratyahara’ is often described as ‘withdrawal of the senses’ but perhaps we should first explore what exactly we are withdrawing from? By choosing to turn down the volume on the most dominant sense, we turn up the volume on the remaining ones. Playing with a blindfold is just one example of how we can have fun with awakening our senses. Another exercise you can try is the silent disco! At a music festival in England there was a tent housing a silent disco. People could choose to either wear wireless headphones to hear the music or wear no headphones and dance to their own inner beat in a silent room. Try it at your next party!
There is so much pleasure to be had when we awaken our senses. It is part of our experience with the human body to be touched by another, to smell a sweet flower, to taste delicious food, to listen to good music and to open our eyes to beautiful smiling faces. I encourage you to blindfold a friend today and give them the gift of sensory experience!