There are six muscles that connect the eye to the eye socket and help them move side to side, up and down and all around. When you read, drive or watch something over an extended period of time, it drains your eye muscles of flexibility and tires them out. This condition is known as eye fatigue and is only worsened by smartphones and computer devices. While eye fatigue isn't a very serious condition, if it persists overtime it can be. The one way to help relieve the symptoms of eye fatigue (burning, itching and tiredness) is eye yoga. Why yoga you ask? Yoga is a form of exercise designed to work on your health and consciousness i.e your mind, body and soul. So all the exercises help not just your vision but also your brain, reinforcing the fact that everything is connected. Eye yoga can also relieve you from disorders related to defects in the eye muscles like myopia and hypermetropia.
Jane Rigney Battenberg writes in her book 'Eye Yoga: How You See is How You Think', "Since the eye muscles are eight times stronger than they need to be, they don't have to be strengthened so much as stretched, relaxed and fine-tuned. You will need to balance the eye stretching and strengthening exercises, where the eyes learn to work and see together, with the relaxing, loosening exercises, where you re-pattern your eyes and brain to relax and see."
We've put together five simple yoga exercises that that will help ease out overused muscles, reduce tension in the face and eyes and help your eyes focus.1. Blink - Open your eyes wide and then quickly blink about 10 times. Now, close your eyes for about 20 seconds and repeat this exercise four more times. The human eye should blink about 25 times in one minute. However, many of us don't, especially when we're focusing on something on our computer or smartphone. This exercise helps your eye nourish itself, relaxes the eye muscles and prevent dry eyes.
2. Palming - If you've gone for yoga classes at any point in time you'll be familiar with this one. Rub your palms together till they feel warm. Then place them on your eyes and hold the position till your palm feels warm. Concentrate on something and relax. This exercise is another form of relaxation which is something your eyes could use, especially after a long day at work.
3. Sideways & Rotation - So now you want to stretch your eye muscles. Move your eyes slowly from side to side and then all the way around in a circle. If you find that difficult, then use your finger and move it in a circle, and let your eyes follow. Make sure your neck doesn't move and repeat both those exercises about 20 times.
4. Sarvangna Asanaor the shoulder stand - This exercise doesn't just help your eyes but your brain as well. Lie down on a mat and using your arms, life your body waist downwards in the air so that your legs are straight and toes point outwards. This pose stimulates blood circulation in brain and optic nerve. You can also lay on your back and life your legs upward, as high as you can go. This exercise increases blood circulation to the eyes, brain, ears and nose, thereby improving their functioning. This pose also helps you detoxify and maximise the performance of all the other organs.
5. Bhramari Pranayama - Also known as the humble bee breath, this exercise is really calming and can drown down the unnecessary noise in your head, making you feel relaxed with just a few breaths. Sit on the floor cross-legged or however you feel comfortable. Now place your fingers over your eyes horizontally. Exhale and when you inhale make a bee like buzzing sound. Make sure you apply very little pressure on the eyeball and keep your lips sealed.