Researchers run a yoga workshop for the seeing-impaired in Alabama, similar to the ones being set up for Baltimore.

Yoga class is hard enough already; just imagine what it would be like to vinyasa if you were blind. Pam Jeter, an Ashtango teacher who’s also a researcher at Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute, had a different idea:  maybe yoga would actually help blind people with balance, locating the body in space, fear of falling, stress, and relaxation. So she began arranging for the first yoga therapy study to focus on the physical and emotional effects of yoga for the blind.

Jeter first got interested in the effects of yoga on the visually impaired when her mother started slowly losing her sight due to retinitus pigmentosa. Since then, she has been working hard to get the logistics in place so the study can get off the ground. She’s arranged for donated yoga mats, and is figuring out the complex transportation logistics for getting visually impaired people to and from the study. (Incidentally, she’d be happy to receive your donations here; indicate Other with your donation, and type in Yoga for the Blind Research to get it to the right place.)

And in case you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, Baltimore Yoga Village’s Mt. Washington studio is offering a special class on Saturday, December 8, where participants are invited to practice with closed eyes or blindfolds if they choose. All proceeds from the class will go to the Wilmer Eye Institute to help support Jeter’s research.