Astigmatism and Yoga

closed eyes

Astigmatism and yoga is a combination often discussed in relation to the practice of eye yoga. This is a series of exercises that may help improve eye health.

What Is Astigmatism?

According to the American Optometric Association, astigmatism is "a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye." This condition can happen to anyone, usually from birth, but also as a result of certain medical conditions or eye surgery. Correction methods usually involve single-vision or double-vision lenses.

We all have a tendency to strain our eyes, whether we wear corrective lenses or not. Functions such as excessive computer work, watching television, or late-night reading in low light impact the shape and function of the eyes. Proponents of eye yoga techniques believe that we can reduce the effects of these habits by performing a series of simple exercises.

Astigmatism and Yoga: Techniques for Relief

Meir Schneider, the founder and director of Center and School for Self-Healing based in San Francisco, is one of the primary proponents of addressing astigmatism with yoga therapy. As a child, he was declared legally blind. As an adult, he regained much of his sight through regular practice of his version of eye yoga. Here are some of the techniques he recommends for better eye health:

  • Blinking: To reduce eye tension and increase moisture, look away from your point of focus and softly open and close your eyes several times.
  • Eye rolls: To sharpen your focus and strengthen eye muscles, gently roll your eyes from side to side and up and down, then close your eyes and breathe.
  • Massage: To reduce tension in the face, warm your fingertips, then apply a delicate touch around the eyes, pressing your fingertips into the bridge of your nose, across the ridge of the eyebrows to the temples. Then move under the eyes from the nose, across the cheekbones to the ears.
  • Palming: To relax the optic nerves, sit in a comfortable position. Rub your palms briskly together and place them over your eyes. Close your eyes and sink into complete darkness.
  • Shifting: To encourage a stronger eye-brain connection, practice quickly moving the eyes from one small detail to another without strain. Allow the eyes to sink into the object you're looking at, without strain.

Make sure to practice these techniques for a few minutes frequently throughout the day, allowing your breath to be equal on the inhale and exhale.

To learn more about Schneider's philosophy of astigmatism and yoga, read this article from Yoga Journal.

More About Eye Health

The topic of astigmatism and yoga is quite popular, with other people championing eye exercises such as Schneider's the way to alleviate symptoms. Review the following articles to learn more techniques to improve eye health.

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