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Yoga for Our Eye Sight

It is said that the face is the index of the mind and the eyes are the windows of the soul. There are five Karmendriyas and five Jnanendriyas. The hands, legs, genitals, anus and speech are Karmendriyas. The eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue are Jnanendriyas. We depend on sight more than any other of our senses to maneuver through the space around us. So the importance of the eyes can’t be overemphasized. The late physician Swami Sivananda considered sight the most abused of our five senses.

Human eyes are a wonderful creation of nature and these need care and attention. As years go by, the muscles around the eyes lose their tone. Eyesight becomes weak after the muscles around the eyes lose their elasticity and become rigid, thereby reducing the power to focus different distances. In addition, tension around the eyes affects the brain causing stress and anxiety. 

There is a deep correlation between the eyes and the mind. It is said that vision occupies 40 percent of the brain's capacity. Therefore, when we close our eyes, relaxation is induced in the brain. Eyesight is dramatically improved when the muscles of the eyes are relaxed.

HOW OUR EYES WORK

Our eyes are smaller than lemons. The eye has two parts- inner and outer. Both the parts are extremely delicate. The body has several ways of protecting this vulnerable organ. The eyeball sits in the eye socket (also called the orbit) in a person's skull, where it is surrounded by bone. The skull bones always protect the eyes. The visible part of the eye is protected by the eyelids and the eyelashes which keep dirt, dust and even harmful bright light out of the eye. There are lacrimal glands located at the inner angle of the eyes. The tears are secreted from these glands only. The tears are salty in taste, free from germs and they are antiseptic. When we open and close the eyelids these tears move from one end to the other end of the eye and it keeps the eye clean, wet and free from communicable diseases. The tears are secreted more when we cry or when we are sorrowful. The tube which connects the eyes and nose (known as nasolacrimal duct) drains the tears.

To see, the three pairs of muscles called extraocular muscles surround the eyeball in the skull work in co-ordination and because of that eyes can rotate and move on all sides. There is a hole in the eye in its center, which is called a pupil. We can see with the help of that. The size of pupil gets small and big by the muscles of the iris due to which the light rays falling on the retina are controlled. These retinas are located on the backside of the eyes. After the light rays fall on the retina, the brain senses them through optic nerve. We call it as vision. There is an elastic lens located behind the pupil and iris. It is attached with ciliary body. The muscles of ciliary body change the curvature of lens and make it thick or thin to concentrate rays on the retina.

On seeing the objects the light rays enter into the eyes and pass through the lens to get concentrated on the retina. It is said that there are thirteen crores and seventy lakhs of sensory receptors in this retina. There are thirteen crores of rod shaped cells to differentiate black and white. The seventy lakhs of cells are triangular. These rods are wide spread in retina. If a small glow-worm from the front of the eyes in a dark night or if a small insect strikes with the eyelashes, lakhs of waves originate in the retina. These impulses pass at the speed of 450 kilometers per hours from the eyes to the brain. The brain receives these impulses. If the mosquito or some insect is to be removed from the vicinity of the eyes by the hand it takes only 0.002 second for the brain to order it.

CAUSES OF EYE STRAIN

Bright sunlight, reading in poor light or in a lying down position, reading or writing in a moving train, plane, car or bus, watching television for too long or working at a computer for long hours, causes stress on the eyes and contracts the eye muscles. This leads to deteriorating eyesight or pain in the eyes.

PROTECTION BY YOGA

There are muscles around the pupil of the eye. There are muscles around the eye ball also. The muscle in the upper part is called as superior muscle and the muscle situated in the lower part of the eye ball is called as inferior muscle. There are muscles on the sides of the eye ball also. These muscles should be exercised. Yogic eye exercises strengthen the muscles of the eyes and thus help in curing many ailments of the eyes. Vision could be improved with eye exercises like palming, eyeball rotations and gaze shifting. So, eye exercises are important to any individual.



YOGIC EYE EXERCISE

We can do this exercise by sitting in a chair, sofa or on the Yoga mat. Keep your back and neck straight but not stiff. Rest should be given to the eyes for sometime after doing one eye exercise. One can sit in Padmasana, Vajrasna, Sukhasana, Swastikasana or Siddhasana for doing eye exercise. Before beginning the eye exercises, just relax the eyes by closing them for a moment or assume the corpse pose to relax all the body parts. Now do the following:

TECHNIQUE

1. Move the eyeball up and look at the space between the eyebrow center then lower the eyeballs and look at the tip of the nose. Don’t move the head. See only by moving the eyeballs. Do it for eight to ten times. The cornea will be seen moving up and down. Then take rest by closing the eyes.
2. Move the eyeballs horizontally parallel to the floor in a straight line from right to left and from left to right side. Do it for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes for some moments and give rest to the eyes.
3. Now move the eyeballs on left upper side and then right lower side. After that move it on right lower and left upper side in oblique direction. Do it for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for some time.
4. Now reverse the sequence. Move the eye balls on right upper and then left lower side. after that move it on left lower and then right upper side in oblique direction for eight to ten times. Then close the eyes and take rest for some time.
5. Now move the eyeballs from right to left and from left to right in upper semi circle. Do it for eight to ten times. Then by closing the eyes take rest.
6. Now move the eyeballs from left to right and from right to left in lower semi circle for eight to ten times. Then take rest by closing the eyes for sometime.
7. Now rotate the eyes clockwise and then anticlockwise in circular motion. Do it for four to six times on both the sides. After that give rest to the eyes.
8. Now stretch the right arm forward and keep it parallel to the floor. Keep the index finger vertically pointing up and fix the eyes on the nail of the finger or just beyond the nail. Now see the finger with both the eyes. Gradually bring the finger towards the nose and keep it there for sometime then take it away from it. You can do like this four to five times. While focusing your attention at the finger you will find you are not seeing one finger but two. Hence in this exercise eyes become eccentric. One finger will be the main finger, which is real and the other will be an optical illusion.
9. In the end, blink the eyes eight to ten times. Now rub the palms and create heat and do palming on the eyes repeating three times. The warm Prana current flowing from the palms relieves the tension and strain around the eye muscles.

NOTE
• The body must be relaxed and the head should not move when the eye exercises are performed. Except for the eyes, all parts of the body should be in a relaxed position.
• Give rest to the eyes by keeping them closed for 10 to 12 seconds between each process.

SOME MORE SUGGESTIONS

• For all eye problems, splash fresh & clean water on your eyes.
• Do eye exercises to tone your eyes. Remove your glasses or contact lenses while exercising.
• Other recommended Yoga exercises are Shirsasana, Sarvangasana, Vipritkarni Mudra for those who don't have cervical spondylosis, high myopia, hypertension or pregnancy. The eyes obtain tremendous power by practising these asanas. After doing Shirsasana don't sit up or stand up immediately. Take rest in Shashankasana for sometimes.
• Regular practice of Bhramari, Aumkar, and Anulom-Vilom Pranayama can also perfuse the eyes with plenty of blood flow.
• Constipation also affects our eyes. Therefore, it is essential that bowels get cleaned fully everyday. For this, practise Yogamudra, Vajrasana (after the meals) & Shitali Pranayama in morning and evening.
• Practice of Jalnetikriya can balance the breathing system of the nose. Along with that it gives much benefit to eyesight.
• Practice of deep breathing and meditation also can give rest to the eyes and increase its working capacity.
• Practice of concentration or Trataka by sitting in front of a flame also gives special strength to working system of the eyes.
• Every four to six months or minimum once in a year eyes should be checked up for their visual capacity even though our eyes are normal. They should be immediately tested if something unexpected happens so that if there is any change in the vision the eyes can be immediately treated. It is very important especially for the children.
• In India the self urine therapy experiment to wash the eyes is popular. It increases the working capacity of the eyes and removes stress.

Eyes are the pearls of life. Taking care of them is our prime duty. The eyes can be donated after death. Hence two eyes can give vision to two needy persons who will be able to see the world. Utilize them with the correct eye care program that includes eye exercises, proper diet and supplementation. Don't misuse them.


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti