During the pandemic, we definitely spent more time at our monitors. Many of those who started working from home have noted that the usual working hours have become somewhat floating, and sometimes you find yourself at your laptop at odd hours. And options for leisure time in certain months decreased significantly—walking time is now occupied by the Netflix series. In short, the strain on the eyes has increased, and their fatigue affects our general condition. So, it should come as no surprise that the current wellness trend is… yoga for the eyes!
Yoga is a truly universal physical activity. Although many people find it boring, but this set of exercises allows not only maintain muscle tone, but also brings relaxation. This is essentially how yoga for the eyes works as well.
You can combine yoga for the eyes with classic yoga exercises or just use it as a little warm-up in between work. It is especially useful for those who spend a lot of time in front of the laptop and stare at the screen for hours.
The fact is that the suboccipital muscles are located at the back of the neck, just below the skull, and contain a huge number of proprioreceptors that assess muscle tension to inform the brain of the position of the head and neck. In this way, muscles throughout the body are coordinated so that we don’t lose our balance or fall.
These muscles, in turn, respond to eye movement, and you can feel it yourself by placing your hands on either side of your head and placing your thumbs just below the edge of your skull at the back of your head. Feel the muscles without straining your neck and close your eyes, then move your eyes horizontally and vertically—you will feel small throbbing movements under your thumbs. This is the work of your occipital muscles receiving information from your eyes.
When you sit practically motionless at a desk and stare at a screen for a long time, the range of movement of your eyes is limited, which limits the information your muscles receive as well. This results in muscle tension in the neck and, conversely, overstretching of the eyes.
So, below are some simple but effective eye exercises to combat this. At first, if you haven’t done them regularly, you may feel slightly dizzy, so perform them slowly and carefully. As with any type of exercise, don’t push yourself to an extreme pace right away, but get in shape gradually.
Regular exercise will reduce eye fatigue and improve your posture, attention, coordination, and overall health.
Sit up straight, straighten your spine, and keep your head still. Move your eyes horizontally from left to right and focus on objects in the periphery. Rotate your gaze three times clockwise in a circle, and then close your eyes to relax them again.
“Stretch” for the eyes
Relax your face and keep your eyes closed while you look up and count to four. Now slowly look down—your eyes should still be closed—and count to four again. Repeat this exercise three times before changing it slightly. The next time you do this, look from left to right.
Extend one hand straight out in front of you with the thumb up, focus on the thumb, and count to four. Then slowly move your hand toward your nose until your eyes are no longer focused on it, and count to four again. Return your hand to its original position and repeat the same exercise ten times.
The far and near view
Find two points of focus: one at a distance (preferably somewhere outside the window, if you’re at home) and one much closer to you. Focus on the distant object for a few long breaths, and then move your gaze to the object closer to you.
Wait for your eyes to focus on the closer object, then take a deep breath and exhale completely before moving your focus back to the distant object. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Open your eyes wide and then blink quickly ten times. Close your eyes and take five deep breaths and five slow exhales. Repeat this exercise five times.
Palming was invented by Tibetan yogis—it is touching your eyes lightly with your palms. You just need to sit with your eyes closed and focus on the darkness (your eyes covered with your palms without pressure on eyeballs). Soon, you will notice all sorts of flickering lights, which are caused by irritation and overloading of the optic nerve.
Our eyes need darkness to recover from the light. Once these sparks begin to disappear, slowly remove your palms and gradually open your eyes. They may be more sensitive at this point, so don’t look at anything too bright right away, let your optic nerve get used to the light.
Gazing at the tip of the nose
This exercise is often used in conjunction with meditation and pranayama (breathing practice). Indian yogi call it Nasikagra Drishti, which literally translates as “contemplation of the tip of the nose.” Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back. Relax your shoulders and place your palms on your knees for better spine alignment and concentration.
Now slowly transfer your gaze to the tip of your nose without straining your eyes. Relax your eyes as soon as you feel discomfort. Repeat five or more times until you feel your eyes rest.