Palming for the Eyes
Many traditional schools of yoga, including Sivananda, incorporate yoga for the eyes at the beginning of the session to set the right tone for the practice of asanas and meditation. Palming for the eyes is one such exercise and simply involves cupping your eyes with your warm, energized hands.
In our technology-driven lifestyle, the hours of watching television, reading, staring at computer screens or concentrating on our cellphones can be an incredible burden for the eyes. Yogic exercises such as palming provide them with the delicious rest and relaxation they deserve. Moreover, it is easy enough to be done anywhere, at any time and whenever needed.
Physiologically, palming relaxes the optic nerves and supports the health of the photo receptors. This alleviates fatigue caused by strain and gives your eyes a much needed break from the harsh light they are routinely bombarded with. It also reduces tension in the facial muscles, defends against headaches and restores the eyes’ natural sparkle. In fact, regular practice is known to prevent and even improve vision problems.
“Sight is what you see with your eyes. Vision is what you see with your mind.”There is also a deeper benefit that many yogis are familiar with. As the eyes and the brain are intricately connected, resting the eyes indirectly relaxes tension and tightness in various other parts of the body. By blocking out the attention to the outside world that the sense of sight provides, you are now directing your thoughts, energy and focus inward. This promotes mindfulness, increases the powers of concentration and inspires awareness of the self.
- Sit in a comfortable position, either on your mat or on a chair. Keep the back, neck and head in a long, straight line. Relax the shoulders, jaw and forehead. Take a few deep breaths and bring yourself into the present moment.
- Now rub your hands together vigorously for 10-15 seconds until they feel warm and energized.
- With the eyes closed, bring the hands to the face. The palms should cup – not press – the eye sockets. The fingers should be on the forehead and the heels of the hands should rest lightly on the cheeks. If you are in front of a desk or table, you can rest your elbows on it.
- Relax the shoulders and allow the soothing heat, darkness and energy to permeate from the palms into the eyes. Breathe deeply and draw the attention inward. Release anything that doesn’t serve your well-being. Surrender to the healing stillness and comforting warmth that this brings.
- Stay for as long as is comfortable. When you’re ready, remove the hands from the face and very slowly open your eyes.
Practice palming for the eyes whenever the need arises. Together with a healthy lifestyle, good habits, an abundance of fresh air and plenty of exposure to the blues and greens of nature, your eyes are sure to be bright, fresh and recharged. In addition, you’ll discover profound inner vision and a wonderful aura of overall well-being.