7 Tips for Better Vision

Did you know? The yoga tradition offers ancient (and surprising) practices for reducing eyestrain and improving your sight.

May 14, 2013    BY Deborah Willoughby

Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and the miracle of laser surgery—these gifts of modern science can do wonders for failing eyesight. But so can common sense and a few tips from the yogis.

Here’s a potpourri.

Try any or all and watch your eyes strengthen and your vision clear.

1. Relax Your Eye Muscles
Seeing is effortlessor should be. Instead of staring, let the image come to the eye. Relax your eyes and the muscles around your eyes. Don’t strain, simply see.

2. Blink Frequently
When you find yourself staring, blink several times quickly and rhythmically. In fact, blink oftenespecially when reading or working at a computer. It moistens and rests your eyes and will remind you to soften your gaze.

3. Try a “Palming” Exercise
Several times a day, rub your palms together briskly and then cup them over your closed eyes. Rest for a few minutes in perfect darkness, enjoying the sensation of your eyes absorbing the healing warmth from your hands.

4. Sunbathe
Find a comfortable place in the sun to sit, close your eyes, and move your head gently from side to side. Let the warmth of the sun soak into your eyelids for up to ten minutes. This is best done in the early morning or early evening, especially in hot weather.

5. Try Candle Gazing
Place a lighted candle at least an arm’s length away in a darkened room. Rest your gaze gently on the flame and count 100 relaxed breaths. If you haven’t yet broken the habit of staring, use two candles. Place them a foot apart and shift your gaze between them to the rhythm of your inhalations and exhalations.

6. Do a Breathing Practice at Dawn
Go outside before dawn and find a place where you have a clear view of the eastern horizon. Stick out your tongue, fold it into a tube and inhale while gazing at the line of red just above the horizon. (Exhale through your nose.) Visualize the cool dawn air mingling with the rosy hue and flowing over your eyes with each inhalation.

7. Try Dew Walking
Early in the morning when the grass is drenched with dew, take off your shoes and stroll barefoot through the grass. It’s a little hard to understand how this strengthens eyesight, but the yogis insist it does. Try it for several months and see if they’re right.

Deborah Willoughby
The founding editor of Yoga International magazine, Deborah Willoughby holds a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Virginia. After a career in Washington, DC, as a writer and editor, she turned her attention full-time to the study and practice of yoga. She studied with Swami Rama and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait while serving as President of the Himalayan Institute from 1994 to 2008. She is the editor of Pandit Tigunait’s new book, The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi... Read more>>