Amie Trewin Hutt

What is Eye Yoga?

Words by Phoebe McRae

what is eye yoga

If yoga didn’t get you through lockdown, I don’t know what did. One of the only things I managed to do daily before watching far too many hours of Netflix, I tried (and failed) to master Shirshasana, spent every spare second in Shavasana (lying on the couch counts, right?), and finally found the confidence to give Kakasana a go. But what I really should have been doing daily was eye yoga, especially given the amount of time I spent in front of a screen.

Believed by many to improve eyesight, doing yoga eye exercises regularly is a must. However, yoga for eyes is not widely practised and there’s little information currently available online. So I spoke to Chatty Dobson, Yoga Teacher & Owner of FLEX Chelsea, to get the low down.

does eye yoga help?

What is Eye Yoga?

As Dobson told The Sports Edit, “Eye yoga is simply a series of stretches for the muscles in your eye structure. Similar to regular yoga, each time you practice the muscles involved will become both stronger and find more length.” The best part? It’s easy to do yet oh-so effective. “Sessions don’t take long at all and are minimal effort,” she continued, adding, “It shouldn’t take longer than five minutes.” Sign me up!

What Are the Benefits of Eye Yoga?

“Everyone should be doing eye yoga!” says Dobson. And when you look at the research, it’s easy to see why. Studies show that eye yoga can not only reduce intraocular pressure and relieve eye fatigue but improve clarity of vision. It can even help to reduce headaches and relieve facial tension! As Dobson explains, “Strengthening the muscles of the eye reduces the deterioration of eye focus that we see as we age, and the stretch that we get from eye yoga is hugely beneficial in easing tension headaches and relaxing the muscles of the face in general.”

woman taking selfie

How to Do Eye Yoga

Whether you’re wondering how to reduce eye pressure by yoga, looking for yoga eye exercises to improve vision, or simply want to see what all of the fuss is about, Dobson suggests starting with the three exercises below just ensure you are sitting upright with a straight spine and are comfortable yet still before you begin.

Stretch

  1. Relax your facial muscles, softening your jaw and eyebrows, then gently close your eyes.
  2. Keeping your eyes closed, look all the way up and count to 4.
  3. Keeping your eyes closed, look all the way down and count to 4.
  4. Repeat 3 times.
  5. Repeat one last time, looking left and right.
  6. Finally, look top left to bottom right, then top right to bottom left. 

Strengthen

  1. Blink as fast as you can 10 times.
  2. Sit with your eyes closed and count to 5. 
  3. Repeat 5 times.
  4. To finish, sit for a moment and pay attention to any sensations.

Focus

  1. Sitting tall, stretch your right arm straight out in front of you.
  2. Put your right hand in the ‘thumbs up’ position.
  3. Bring your gaze and your focus to your right thumbnail and count to 4. 
  4. Bring your right thumb towards your nose until your eyes can no longer focus and count to 4.
  5. Slowly extend your right arm again, keeping your focus on your thumb. 
  6. Repeat 5 times.

How Often Should You Practice Eye Yoga?

Like all yoga, the more you practice, the more benefits you see. While Dobson recommends five minutes of eye yoga every day just before bed, ultimately you know your body best. So take it easy and just do as much as you think you need.