Blog by Faye Koe, adapted from Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s Asana Pranayama Mudra and Bandha, Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar India. 2006.
The Sixth Chakra and Yoga Eye Exercises
This week in our yoga classes we have been focusing on The Sixth Chakra and Yoga Eye Exercises. Please see our full class on our Resources page, all of these are free.
Palming relaxes and revitalizes the eyes, stimulating the aqueous humour.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. Rub the palms of the hands together vigorously until they become warm. Place them over the eyelids. Feel warmth and energy being transmitted from the hands into the eyes and the eye muscles.
When the heat from the hands has been absorbed, repeat again, at least three times.
Some people with defective eyesight blink irregularly, because of tension in the eyes. This exercise encourages the blinking reflex to become spontaneous.
Sit with eyes open. Blink the eyes 10 times, quickly. Close the eyes and relax them for 6 breaths. Repeat up to 5 times.
Sideways viewing relaxes the tension of the muscles strained by constant reading and close work and presents and corrects squint. In Dandasana. Extend arms, thumbs up. Thumbs positioned at the peripheral vision. Head faces forwards. The head should not move: focus: Left eye, space between the eyebrows, right eye, space between the eyebrows, left eye; repeat the cycle 10 times, keeping head and spine straight throughout. Close and rest the eyes.
Front and Sideways Viewing
Front and Sideways viewing improves coordination of the medial and lateral muscles of the eyeball. In Dandasana, left fist is on the left knee, so that thumb points upward. The right thumb is to the right of the body so that thumb points upwards, at peripheral vision. Move gaze from left thumb to right thumb, 10 times. Rest and close eyes. Repeat on the left side. Rest.
Upward and Downward Viewing
Upward and downward viewing balances the upper and lower eyeball muscles. In Dandasana, place both fists on the knees with both thumbs pointing up. Keeping the arms straight slowly raise the left thumb while following the motion of the thumb with the eyes. Once thumb is raised to the maximum, return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side. Inhale as the arm is raised, exhale as the arm is lowered. Repeat 10 times with each thumb. Head and spine straight throughout. Rest the eyes. Palming after.
Rotational viewing increases coordination activities of all the eye muscles. Right hand on the right knee. Left fist above the left leg with thumb pointing up and the elbow straight. Make a large circular movement with the left arm to the left, then upward, curving to the right and returning to the starting position. Eyes focused on the thumb without moving the head. 10 times clockwise and 10 times anticlockwise. Repeat with the right thumb. Head still.
Preliminary Nasikagra Dristi, Nosetip Gazing
Preliminary Nasikagra Dristi, nosetip gazing. Dandasana or crossed legged. Hold the left arm straight, directly in front of the nose, make a fist and keep the thumb pointing up. Focus both eyes on the tip of the thumb. Bend the arm and slowly bring thumb to the nose tip. Remain for a few seconds with the thumb on the nose tip. Then straighten the arm continuing to gaze at the thumb. Practice 10 rounds.
Near and Distant Viewing
Near and Distant Viewing. The range of movements in the eye muscles is further increased. Sit or stand at an open window, preferably with a clear view of the horizon, with arms by the sides. Focus the eyes on the nose tip for five seconds, then focus on a distant object on the horizon for five seconds. Repeat this process 10 times. Close the eyes and relax.
Then lie in Savasana for a few minutes.
After these exercises lie in Savasana for a few minutes. These eye exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the eyes and rectify irregular blinking and can moisten tired eyes. If you wear contact lenses you may like to remove them before your practice. If your eyes feel strained rest the eyes and close them.
By Faye Koe