When taking off, a pilot can't actually see the final destination ahead. Instead they rely on Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites in space to tell them where they are going.
On the ground, sight is the superficial way of telling you where you are relative to something else. Sight is effective in providing quick information about the world around you. It's likely you spend most, if not all, of your day with your eyes open visually absorbing each moment. You probably feel safest when you can see, like on a bright sunny day, and most afraid when you can't see, like in the middle of the night.
What happens when you take away this large input source?
When you close your eyes, you begin to rely on your internal instruments, just like pilots, to understand your surroundings.
In yoga, let’s say you are standing in Tree Pose and the teacher instructs you to close your eyes. Instantly your body will feel unbalanced. But why? Nothing about your stance has changed. All that you did was take away one source of information.
By practicing balance with the eyes closed, you strengthen your internal awareness instruments. You are required to truly feel into your grounded foot for stability. You are required to sway carefully to offset the wobbling of your standing leg. You feel the engagement of your abdominal muscles, helping keep you steady. You do all those same actions in Tree Pose with your eyes open, but when the eyes are closed, the cues become louder and stronger.
Building this trust with your internal signals becomes increasingly important when you step off the mat.
In life, you can't always “see” what is ahead or the right answer to a big decision. This can be scary because sight is likely your strongest input source and without it, you may feel unequipped to make necessary decisions.
When you are faced with opportunities that do not have a clear path you must rely on, and believe in, your internal instruments to tell you what to do.
Miranda Morris is a yoga instructor for Activ Life, a leading health and wellness company based in the Cayman Islands. If you enjoyed this article you may also like: The secret to better arm balances and 6 best balancing basics.