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…and other unexpected benefits of no electricity

I am immensely happy that the power is back and I don’t want a return to enforced candlelight, but I did discover some unexpected advantages of electricity-free living.

Candlelit yoga, for a start. Yoga by candlelight is something unusual, even if the routine itself is one you’ve been practising for weeks or months. Candles signal a special occasion, they bring to my mind the idea of an offering, a vigil, a celebration. Candlelight brings a sense of occasion to a practice that at times risks feeling too practical. With candles we move from the everyday into a marked moment. This is a moment to inhabit, to be within. There are fewer distractions from outside. The phone is not going to ring, there is no background TV. No one knows we are in so they won’t call us from outside the door.

I notice small details, like how the leaves make a dark lace pattern against the royal-blue sky.

The flickering darkness seems to make an irrationality of reality, of space. The room becomes the size of one person but at the same time it opens into infinite shadows. I can’t see myself. The mirror is clouded with dusk. So I feel the postures instead, have a sense rather than a knowledge of what is taking place. It’s easier to concentrate on breath. And it’s easier to be forgiving, to accept the places I come to and the positions I reach then rest in. Balance, however, is near impossible to attain.

Candlelight for anything is more forgiving, less demanding. The outside entertainments, distractions and obligations melt away into the corners of the room and your mind. You notice things, are more mindful. You pay attention to simple processes like how to light a room. You think about how to be secure, and how to feel content and relaxed when the TV is not there to take this role away from you. With candlelight comes a mindfulness, a different way of spending precious time.