Have you ever considered the way your eyes work, and how much you use them everyday?
Often the only time we really consider our eyes is when our eyesight starts to fail.
But the eyes are one part of the body which are used so much everyday, without us ever bringing our awareness to them. Particularly in the modern world, where everyone is rushed off their feet, our eyes are often 10 steps ahead of the rest of our bodies, they are frequently focused on screens (phones, TVs, computers etc).
The muscles in the eyes are just like all the other muscles in our body, and need to be rested, rejuvenated and worked on just like all the others. And there are ways to do this with yoga.
Yoga and eye kriyas
What are eye kriyas?
Eye kriyas are simply moving your eyeballs around the socket in a controlled and aware manner. The Eye Kriyas not only help to rest our eyes after a long day of staring at a screen, but can also massively improve our eyesight, if practiced regularly.
Start by moving your eyes to the right, without moving your head or neck, keep the eyes over to the right and stay there for a while, and do the same to the left.
That’s all there is to it.
You can try all different directions, or in circles, but make sure you don’t get too dizzy, take your time.
Explore shifting the gaze between focal points and peripheral gazing points. Try keeping your focus on something close to you, whilst being aware of everything in your peripheral vision, then try the opposite, bringing your focus to something in the far distance.
Maintain a soft gaze on an object or scene for a while, do not force your eyes to work, allow them to slowly take in what they see.
These practices can help to bring awareness to the way we view the world. And if you find it difficult to maintain a soft awareness on a vast scene such as a landscape or a sunset, it is often the case that seeing the bigger picture is a difficulty for you. This can be associated with blurriness and the intuitive mind — practice widening your gaze to find a balance.
A good way to keep your eyes healthy is to ease them slowly between darkness and light.
When to do eye kriyas
This practice is usually done at the end of a yoga class, when you are waking out of savasana.
With your eyes still closed, you rub the palms of the hands together vigorously to create some heat and gently cup them over your eyes. When you feel there is no light being let into the cupped hands, you can slowly open your eyes to the darkness, and when you are ready, slowly drop your hands.
This helps the eyes to slowly become used to the light from the dark, helping them to adjust.
Most of us never allow our eyes to adjust to the light after being closed for a while, this is a deep and healing practice which can encourage this.
As someone once said, the eyes are the window to the soul. They are the gateway to the way we perceive the world and keeping the eyes healthy allows us to keep our vision and perception of ourselves and the world healthy.
So give these few tips a try, and keep your eyes smiling and alive!