Even the most devoted practitioners of the ancient art of yoga may not have heard of its relatively new cousin, eye yoga. Many people, including Paul McCartney, have begun extolling the virtues of this supposedly vision-preserving practice, and some evidence suggests that they’re on to something.
If you’re interested in learning more about this growing ocular-exercise trend, read on. We’ll go over all you need to know, from what exactly eye yoga is and how it’s practiced to what evidence there is to support it and more.
What Is Eye Yoga?
Eye yoga is essentially just a funny way of saying eye exercise. For some practitioners, it’s also known as yogic eye exercises.
The activity consists of a series of movements intended to strengthen and condition the muscles that support the eyes. The alleged benefits include decreased eye strain, increased visual focus, headache relief, dry eye relief, vision preservation, and vision improvement.
It should be noted that while some of these benefits have been verified through scientific research, others have not. It’s essential to remain informed on what the science says about practicing eye yoga before assuming it can cure any vision problems.
Alleged Benefits of Eye Yoga
There may not be enough science to make any definitive claims about the potential benefits of eye yoga, but practitioners insist that it has helped them in the following areas.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney claims he doesn’t need reading glasses at the age of 78 because of his regular eye yoga routine. While his assertion has not been backed by science, it is statistically unusual for a man of his age to have the ability to read without glasses. Of course, it’s impossible to say whether eye exercises are why his vision is so good.
Reduces Eye Strain
There is scientific evidence that backs this particular claim. A 2016 study of 60 undergraduate nursing students found a significant decrease in eye fatigue in those who practiced eye yoga for a period of eight weeks.
Reduces Symptoms of Dry Eyes
This claim is a relatively common one, but scientific research does not support it.
Some people assert eye yoga can improve eyesight, even in people who suffer from vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. However, this claim is not backed by science, and a study conducted in 2012 failed to find any significant correlation between yogic eye exercise and improved vision. The authors of the study suggested that further research is required to deny or confirm these claims conclusively.
How to Practice Eye Yoga
The science behind it may be up and down, but there are proven benefits to eye yoga. Since practicing it is relatively easy, so why not give it a try? Below is a guide to the basic tenets of eye yoga and how to practice them.
Palming is generally the first or last technique you’re going to use when practicing eye yoga. To start, rub your palms together to make them warm, then hold them over your eyes and focus on your breathing. This technique is more of a relaxation exercise than anything else.
Repeated rapid blinking may make you feel a little silly, but it can help to strengthen your eye muscles while also relaxing your eyes and reducing strain. Try blinking rapidly for 10 seconds, closing your eyes for 20 seconds, then repeating that cycle for about 2 minutes.
This exercise can help with muscle relaxation. First, sit up and straight and get your head still. Roll both of your eyes to the right, then roll them down, then to the left, and finally roll them up. For this ten times clockwise and ten times counterclockwise.
Focus Shifting or Zooming
This technique centers on the muscles that shift your focus from nearby objects to faraway objects. The belief is that by alternating between a close-by and far-away focal point, you can develop those muscles and improve your ability to focus. To do it, simply focus on a nearby object for a few seconds, switch to a distant object for a few seconds, and repeat this action for two minutes.
Is Eye Yoga Really Worthwhile?
If the science about eye yoga is unconcluded, and some of the claims have no legitimate backing whatsoever, is it really worth bothering with these different exercises?
Well, that’s perhaps more a matter of opinion than anything else at this point. Still, there is at least enough scientific evidence to suggest that yogic eye exercise is beneficial in specific ways, and it isn’t in any way dangerous, so it really can’t hurt to try. Much like the traditional form of yoga, eye yoga can be calming, and it can work to relieve stress, which is a benefit all on its own.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can determine whether eye yoga is helpful for you, but there is no doubt that it’s worth it to follow the research as it continues to come out if you’re someone who hopes to preserve or improve their vision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common queries about eye yoga.
Can Eye Yoga Improve Eyesight?
Many people claim that yogic eye exercise can improve eyesight, but scientific research has not backed those claims. However, studies have not yet conclusively refuted these claims, either.
Can Eye Yoga Reduce Eye Strain?
In short, yes. Eye yoga can strengthen the muscles that support the eyes. When those muscles are more robust, they become fatigued less frequently, and you’re therefore are less likely to feel the symptoms of strain.
Does Eye Yoga Really Work?
The answer to this question depends on what you’re seeking to achieve through eye yoga. If you have vision issues you want to fix or improve, there is no evidence to suggest that eye yoga can help with that. If you want to increase focus and reduce eye strain, eye yoga may prove to be helpful.