It is not just the limbs and torso that benefit from yoga, even the eyes can reap good results. Here’s how…
Yoga, the centuries’ old curative exercise regime that has always worked wonders for the body and mind, is also a great miracle worker for the eyes. Ophthalmologists across the world are now increasingly advising their patients to practice yoga for the eyes as it is known to help in the general betterment of eye health. For instance, fatigued or strained eyes can benefit greatly by practicing yoga regularly.
Here is a look at some basic eye yoga exercises and understanding when such exercises can greatly benefit the eyes:
Muscle strengthening: Like any other part of the body, muscles when exercised, become stronger. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to strengthen the muscles around your eyes. This is easy. Half-shut your eyes and hold that position. You will feel the upper eyelids tremble. The yogic exercise here is to focus on a distant object with just one purpose in mind. After attempting this exercise for 15 seconds or so, slowly shut your eyes. Repeat about four times.
Sharp focusing exercise: This exercise shows one how to train to adjust the vision according to varying distances by focusing on different objects. In this exercise hold a pen at an arm’s length. Fix your gaze to the top of the pen. Slowly then bring the pen close and hold it near the tip of your nose. Continue to keep your gaze on top of the pen for as long as you can (2-3 minutes is enough). Repeat the exercise a few times a day increasing the frequency to a maximum of 10 loops.
Stretch that eye muscle: Yoga experts advise people to do both lateral and medial eye exercises. If you are facing straight and looking to the right, you are doing two things. Firstly, you are using the lateral rectus of your right eye, which is a specific eye muscle. At the same time, you are also using the medial rectus of your left eye. In the same fashion, when you are looking to the left, you are using the lateral rectus of your left eye, and simultaneously the medial eye muscle of your right eye.
To do this stretch exercise of the eyes, sit straight and look straight too. Then slowly look to the right and hold that position. Even as you do so, you will feel the eye muscles stretch. Hold for about 3 minutes or so. Then blink rapidly a couple of times and slowly bring your gaze back to the front. Repeat the exercise with your left eye. Again, blink a few times then bring your gaze back to the front.
There’s another eye yoga exercise that is greatly effective for the general eye health. Draw an imaginary eight with your eyes. A horizontal or a ‘lying down’ eight like the sign of infinity should do well. Without moving your head make this eight. Then blink rapidly and repeat five to seven times.
Massage: It is important to understand the goodness of a gentle, soothing eye massage. A great stress reliever is a gentle massage of the pupils over your eyelids. This is something that most of us involuntarily do to relax eye muscles. Yoga gurus also say that massaging your upper lids and lower eye-lids for ten seconds each is a great stress buster for fatigued eyes.
Massaging should be gentle using two fingers and in a circular movement. Also gently massage the corner of the eye, the inner side, as this where the lacrimal bone is located which houses the tear glands. The reason for this kind of massage is that the pressure on the lids is actually putting pressure on the lacrimal glands. And with the pressure, the glands are coaxed into further tear production that in turn lubricates the eyes, ensuring that you don’t suffer from a ‘dry-eye syndrome’ and related problems.
These are some of the basic yoga exercises for the eyes. While eye exercises can actually help in arresting and sometimes even reversing an eye issue, it is important to remember that if the patient is suffering from some serious eye ailment like glaucoma, retinopathy, increased eye pressure or has a lens implanted, it makes sense to consult an eye doctor before attempting the eye exercises. Once you get the go-ahead, there’s no stopping.
Before you start the yoga exercises, there are certain things that have to be incorporated in your daily routine for good eye health. The Golden Rules, so as to say, and they are:
- Blink consciously both slowly and rapidly a few times during the day. Blinking keeps the tear ducts active and the eyes lubricated.
- Take a computer break. And do a 20-20-20 magic trick. Every 20 minutes, look away from the computer screen, to a distance that is 20 feet away, and continue looking there for 20 seconds.
- Practice palming your eyes. Palming is simple. Sit at a table. Rest your elbows on the top. Then rub your palms together and just cover your eyes with cupped palms. Repeat this for at least 5 minutes.
- The final rule: Please remember for any yoga exercise to be effective while doing so, you have to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Secondly, breathing should also be absolutely normal.