“Stand in a place where the sun rays are falling with your legs half a distance apart. Close your eyes and face the Sun make sure your eyes are relaxed and not shut tightly slowly.”
Eye yoga consists of a series of exercises to fight against eye fatigue, increasingly present due to overexposure to screens.
What is eye yoga?
Drawing by my daughter Clementine
Eye yoga is a gentle method, rooted in Ayurvedic medicine and brought to the fore by Dr. Bates, American, and Dr. Agarwal, Indian, in 1920. Eye yoga can be called the Bates method.
It is a kind of eye gymnastics, eye fitness – we also speak of eye gymnastics to refer to eye yoga – which aims to train the eyes, mobilize the adjoining muscles and thus avoid fatigue. Fatigue that occurs, for example, in people who are very exposed to screens.
As with all yoga exercises, you need perseverance and regularity.
First, let’s look at those eyes’ muscles:
There are two types of eye muscles: extrinsic muscles that control eye movement and position, and intrinsic muscles that control near focusing and how much light enters the eye.
Extrinsic eye muscles are attached to the outside of the eyeball and enable the eyes to move in all directions of sight. There are six extraocular eye muscles and one muscle that controls movement in the upper eyelid. Though the extraocular muscles are found within the orbit of the eye, they are not located in the eyeball itself.
The main function of the extraocular eye muscles is to control eye movement and eye alignment. They are different from the intrinsic eye muscles, which enable the eye to focus on near objects and control how much light enters the eye.
The benefits of eye yoga
The goal of eye yoga is to muscle the eye muscles, but also to be able to relax them and stimulate eye irrigation.
By following these exercises well, the benefits are:
- eye relaxation
- a real decrease in eye fatigue
- improves dry eyes.
There is (yet) no scientific data that validates the effect of eye yoga on visual acuity. In other words, we cannot conclude that eye yoga improves vision. Many testimonies, on the other hand, report a benefit from these specific exercises.
A few exercises to relieve your eyes
Here are some eye training exercises:
- look up, lower them down, without moving your head;
- look left and then right, without moving your head;
- always without moving his head, making circles with his eyes, clockwise and then in the opposite direction;
- mimic the shape of the letters of the alphabet or geometric shapes with his eyes;
- fix a nearby object, then a little further then even further. Bring the gaze back to the nearest point;
- move his gaze from one point to another, slowly and “flexible” way;
- put your index finger in front of the face and secure it as close as possible to the nose. Then the distance again and repeat this movement back and forth.
Note that to be effective, each exercise must be repeated at least ten times. And between two sets of movements, it is advisable to put your hands over your eyes to “make black” and then remove your hands slowly so as not to be too dazzled.
It is also important not to forget to blink frequently and regularly, so that the eye does not dry out.
And to do these exercises, you have to remove your glasses or contact lenses.
For specific eye conditions:
Some claim that eye yoga exercises may help to bring down the intraocular pressure (IOP) inside your eye. If so, this may slow the progression of glaucoma, a condition that erodes your optic nerve.
After cataract surgery
Some people claim that doing eye yoga after cataract surgery can help rebuild ocular strength. It isn’t a good idea to try this immediately after having a cataract removed.
For dark circles under eyes
Eye yoga will most likely not increase the blood flow underneath your eyes in any significant way and won’t help with dark circles under your eyes.
Reference: A clinical study to evaluate the efficacy of Trataka Yoga Kriya and eye exercises (non-pharmocological methods) in the management of Timira (Ammetropia and Presbyopia)