As these muscles become more rigid their ability to allow the lens of the eye to focus at different distances becomes reduced and vision deteriorates and the incidence of eyestrain increases. The following ancient eye exercises are based on the Hindu Art of Yoga.
- Breathing deeply and steadily and keeping the head relaxed but still, roll the eyes and look up and then look down.
- Next look as far to the right as you can and then repeat to the left followed by looking up to the right then diagonally downward to the left, up to the left then down to the right, across to the left and finish to the right.
- Repeat several times but stop if you begin to feel uncomfortable, continuing to breath deeply and calmly and keeping the head still but relaxed.
Exercise 2 – Eye rolling
- Keep the head still and looking straight ahead think of a clock directly in front of you and start by looking up to twelve o’clock then begin to roll your eyes slowly round your imaginary clock in a clockwise direction gradually speeding up after each round.
- Stop after four or five rounds depending on your comfort level and then repeat in an anti clockwise direction. Don’t forget to blink.
- Hold your index finger or a pencil directly in front of your nose and as close as you can so that it is in sharp focus.
- Look into the distance and find a point that you can also see clearly.
- Switch your focus several times between the two quite quickly several times blinking between each eye movement.
- After finishing the exercises it is important to relax the eye muscles after the work they have undergone.
- Squeeze the eyes shut as tightly as you can, the tighter the better even if it means screwing up your face, and keep this squeeze on for three to five seconds before opening and blinking rapidly a few times.
- This short exercise enables the muscles around the eyes to become deeply relaxed and helps to relievetension.
Exercise 5 – Palming
This is the final exercise and one that you are probably familiar with but may not know how to do it correctly. Very few will not have rubbed their palms over their eyes to relieve a headache, eyestrain or some emotional event and most will have experienced some relief.
Here’s how to do it to get the maximum benefit
- Sit down and rest your elbows on books piled high enough on a table so that your neck and spine are straight, start by relaxing your shoulders and consciously move down your arms, trunk and legs relaxing each part as you go but remembering to keep the spine and neck straight and continuing to breath deeply and calmly.
- Place the palms of your hands over your closed eyes with the fingers of one hand lightly crossed over the other on your forehead.
- While still breathing deeply, relaxing, and keeping the back and neck straight gently rotate the palms over and around the eye sockets.
- You can carry out this exercise as often as you like and for as long a time as you feel comfortable with. Not only do the eye muscles benefit but it is believed that this exercise can help to relax the entire nervous system.
Tip: Some say that vigorously rubbing the palms together for a short time immediately before starting to palm can add to the benefits, something to do with charging the palms with static electricity but we doubt that the original yoga practitioners five thousand years ago knew why or how this would work.
Yoga combines specialized body poses with deep controlled breathing and meditation to relieve stress and improve body condition.
Most importantly yoga promotes physical and mental self-discipline and it is both important and helpful to keep these facts in mind when carrying out Yoga based eye exercises.
Remember to blink frequently while carrying out the exercises and particularly at the end of each routine as this helps to relax the eye muscles.
The exercises are best carried out while lying down on a firm mat or sitting with the spine erect and body relaxed.
Yoga can also help to drive away over eye headaches.