Simple Techniques To Relieve Eye Strain (Part 2)
One of the places that all humans seem to tense against the stresses of life is in the face. We clench our teeth, shorten our breath and pinch our eyes to a state of hard, beady and squinting. These are classic signs that we’re resisting the moment. We brace against it, try to resist or control our experiences (usually out of fear we’ll get hurt) and only create more strain. Relaxing the eyes and face goes a long way towards releasing overall stress and helping us be more present.
In Part One of this article, we briefly went over how the eyes work and some activities for your daily routine that ease eye strain. Here are a few more self care techniques for finding more peace in both your eyes and your life.
There are so many benefits to having great posture. Decreased eye strain is yet one more. Neck and shoulder alignment, specifically, has a tremendous affect on our eyes. It works with the inner ear to create balance and spatial awareness. Having good posture also encourages calm and deep breathing, which helps improve our balance as well as bringing in oxygen. It’s needed for proper brain function and helps us relax.
- Keep your head over your shoulders, it reduces strain and allows for freedom of movement in the neck.
- Locking the neck creates tension and fatigue; allow your head to move freely as you look around.
- Take deep, relaxing breaths from your belly.
- Sleep on your back, ideally, or your side, but never on your stomach, it shortens one side of the neck, while lengthening the other, creating imbalance.
On Your Yoga Mat
The next time you do asana (yoga poses), pay special attention to your eyes. Keep them open but soft throughout the entire practice. Cultivate eyes like the Buddha that are serene and all-seeing, soft and compassionate. When your eyes reflect this, your mind and heart will often follow.
Help With Your Hands
When I was a teenager, traveling abroad, I had trouble adapting to new time zones. Luckily a French magazine (that I couldn’t actually read!) had some photos of acupressure points around the eyes and face. Not only did pressing on these spots relax my eyes, but my entire face was so soothed that it eventually helped me fall asleep. There are acupressure spots in many places on the face and head, but I’ve included only the ones around the eyes for this article.
Often these spots are tender, that’s one way to know you’re in the right place. Don’t press too hard, just a steady, firm, gentle pressure for a few seconds at a time. You can always repeat each point and add more pressure the second time around if you need it.
- #1: Use both index finger to start at the third eye. Drag down to the crease between your eyes, all the way to your brow bone, then drag your fingers apart. Widen your brows (the opposite of frowning!), following the curve of your brow bone, until your fingers are at the middle of your eyebrows, or all the way to their ends if it feels good.
- #2: Use your thumbs to pull your eyebrows slightly down, then press just under and push slightly back into the under side of the brow bone.
- #3 – #5: Press with your index finger tips or thumbs, directly on the brow bone.
- #6: This point is well away from your under eye circle and is at the crest of your cheekbone. Press firmly and steadily with your index or middle fingers.
- #7- #9: Stay along the ridge of your cheekbone and follow the orbit of your eye to find these point
- #10 Use your index and middle fingers together, or your thumbs, to massage your temples in a circular pattern.
Reiki is a hands-on healing modality. Practitioners of Reiki act as conduits for Universal energy, (which is what Reiki means; in yoga we call it Shakti) and direct it, through their palms. It’s said to restore imbalances, aid in healing and bring a sense of relaxation. Healing Touch is a more westernized version of Reiki that’s used by nurses across the globe to help with patient care.
Practice palming by rubbing your palms together to create warmth and stimulate the flow of Shakti, then cup them over your eyes. Use your imagination to “see” healing and relaxing energy flowing to your eyes. You may visualize colors, light or whatever naturally arises for you and feels helpful. Positive affirmations can be used simultaneously to relieve stress. Some good ones are:
I am relaxed and at ease.
I am adaptable and strong enough to cope with stress.
I am responsible for only my own happiness; other people are responsible for theirs.
I easily flow with the ups and downs of life.
I see clearly and I trust what I see.
I am at peace in this moment.