March 26, 2012

Yoga Eye Exercises with Paul McCartney.

Here are two different ways to take care of your eyes . . .

Our eyes are, of course, very important organs that allow us to see! What an incredible thing that is, and so many of us take for granted. The problem is that we tend to use our eyes and sight in rather limited ways, and not as fully as we could.

When I was in my very first yoga teacher training, we did eye exercises at dawn every day. I’m glad for it, and I endeavor to keep up with them. I’ll be taking you through these eye exercises in just a moment.

But first I have to tell you a funny little story. I was looking online and typed in Yoga Eye Exercises into Google.

A Youtube video came up and peaked my interest right away, so I clicked on it and, lo and behold, I was watching a casual little video by Paul McCartney! The last person I thought I’d be referencing for eye exercises was a musician, much less one of the Beatles. But, hey, why not? He spent time in India and incorporated a yoga practice into his life.

I thought it was funny that, as I watched, Paul pretty much said everything I was already planning to say to you. So, as I tell you these few things about eyes, know that this is backed by very respectable sources, such as yoga teachers all over the world, and, Paul McCartney.

Okay, so why should you consider doing yoga for your eyes?

You might be wondering this. I know I always want to know why a certain thing is going to help me.

So here’s why: Your eye muscles, like any other parts of your body, want to be exercised. We tend to use our eyes in limited ways, such as staring at a computer screen, reading, driving, watching TV, and so on. Though driving does require us to look around much more than the other examples, for the most part we don’t use our eye muscles fully. This can lead to degrading health. However, it really isn’t hard to exercise your eyes. You don’t even have to get off the couch or chair.

The concept is that you use all the muscles of your eyes, bringing circulation to these wonderful organs, and using the full range of motion available to your eyes. For optimal health, you want to not only exercise your eye muscles, but also let them rest.

So, I’m going to take you through the eye exercise I use. It’s a little different than Paul McCartney’s eye exercises. This is an excerpt from my new book, Yoga for Dragon Riders.

Use your own discernment if you choose to do these eye exercises, as it’s up to you to decide if this is right for you. If you have an eye injury or condition, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first. Please don’t strain or force.

Take a deep breath to center yourself.

Sit or stand, grounded and steady.

Rub your palms together to warm your hands and activate the chakras—energy centers—in your palms. (You bring energy there with your focus, and this energy interacts in a healing way with your eyes while you do the exercise).

Take your hands wide to either side of you, palms facing each other, hands even with the height of your eyes and just on the edge of your periphery.

Look from side to side with your eyes, back and forth between your palms.

Take your hands back toward the center, see if you can feel energy between them, and then out diagonally, one up one down, and look back and forth between the two.

Take your hands back towards center and then to the opposite diagonal.

Gaze back and forth.

Remember to breathe.

Then take your hands so the palms almost touch, about 4 to 6 inches in front of your nose, and shift your gaze from your fingertips to a focal point in the distance. You can play with different distances, going back and forth between focal points and the tips of your fingers.

Take a deep breath as you rub your hands together again.

Then, place your palms over your eyes and close them.

With your hands cupping over your eyes, the palm chakras sending healing energy into them, take your eyes in a big infinity shape, tracing a sideways figure 8 beneath your eyelids. Up, around, down, center, up the other side, around, down, center, and so on. Go around at least a few times, then go the other direction.

When you’re done, let your eyes rest back in the darkness for a couple of deep breaths.

Notice how you feel after doing this. If you think eye exercises are something you want to include in your daily routine, write yourself a note somewhere you’ll see it to help you make this a habit. Your eyes will thank you.

Photos by Natalie Anfield

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