‘Eye yoga’ is the fancy new name that has been given to eye exercises as part of the body, health and wellness focus that has encapsulated the world over the last couple of years; and while eye yoga is a relatively new term, it is simply a reinvigoration of a 1920’s Ayurvedic medicine practise called The Bates Method, which was created by a doctor called Agarwal and an ophthalmologist named William Bates.
In essence, eye yoga is a series of eye exercises that are designed to engage all of the ocular muscles that support eye movement. These eye exercises help to improve the flexibility in these muscles and help you to focus your vision better.
What Are The Benefits Of Eye Yoga?
In the way that yoga benefits the body, eye yoga benefits the eyes; and it becomes more effective with practice and regularity. You should treat eye yoga in a similar way to how you treat yoga, in that you should apportion the time in your day as if it were a class, where you can control your breathing and practise in a calm and relaxing environment.
The benefits of eye yoga can be vast, but some of the key benefits are:
- Strengthening of eye muscles
- Improve eye flexibility
- Reduce eye dryness
- Reduce visual fatigue
- General relaxation of the mind and of your eyes
How Do You Practice Eye Yoga?
Eye yoga is made up of 8 core exercises, and you should aim to do each of the core exercises 10 times; with your shoulders relaxed, in a comfortable position with your back and neck aligned.
The 8 core eye yoga exercises are:
The Alphabet exercise is where you slowly draw the first 5 letters of the alphabet one by one, alternating between your eyes after each set of five letters until you have completed the alphabet.
Without moving your head, raise your eyes as high as you can, and then lower your eyes as low as you can. Then you should look left as far as you can, and right as far as you can, completing the oscillation by drawing diagonal lines from top left to bottom right and vica-versa.
Slowly draw large circles with your eyes as if you were following the second hand of the clock. Start clockwise, and then carry out the same exercise in a counter-clockwise format.
- Magic Paintbrush
Imagining that your eye is the tip of your paint brush, trace around an imaginary object in your mind with your eyes. Make the imaginary object as creative as you’d like.
- The Pen
Hold a pen at eye level and stretch out your arm until it is straight and in front of you; then slowly bring the pen back towards the face until it is near to your face; and then slowly stretch the arm out again; and repeat as appropriate.
This exercise is where you look at an object far away for 1 second and then switch your focus to an object that is nearby for a second. This improves your visionary focus and helps your adaptive vision.
Rub your hands together to warm them up, then place them lightly over your eyes while they are closed, careful not to exert any pressure. Close your fingers closely together to stop any light getting in and hold the position for a couple of minutes. This will give your eyes a break from the daily strain you place on them.
Focused blinking will help you to reduce the amount that your eyes dry out during a normal day. It will also help to keep the eyes lubricated and protect them to a greater extent from infection. You should aim to blink ten times in a single minute for two minutes at a time to rehydrate your eyes.