By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Can you improve your eyesight with Yoga? Truthfully, there is not enough information on this subject. Over time, Yoga has proven remarkably beneficial for nearly every part of the body. However, the question lingers: “Can Yoga improve eyesight?” Though solid research is lacking, at least circumstantially, a few alternative methods appear to have believers. Let’s look a little deeper to see if we run into anything that backs up the claims.
Dr. William Bates, who died in 1931, was an American physician and ophthalmologist, who developed what is now called, the Bates Method for better eyesight. The method improves vision by relearning a supposed habitual strain to see. His theory, which proposes that the eye focuses by elongating the eyeball rather than by changing the power of the lens, was not upheld by his peers and remains unproven today.
Bates Method Results
Nonetheless, the founder and director of the Center and School for Self-Healing in San Francisco, Meir Schneider, avows that the practice of consciously relaxing the eyes in a Yogic method, by the Bates Method, allowed him to see again after being pronounced blind at age 6. Schneider teaches how to improve your eyesight with yoga, involving palming, massage, blinking, and shifting the eyes. Several happy students credit him with the return of vision they thought was gone forever.
Dahn Yoga, from Korea, also offers exercises to strengthen the eyes and potentially improve eyesight. According to Dahn practitioners, the eyes are connected to the liver meridian, and exercises that stimulate the liver help eyesight. According to the U.S. Dahn Yoga website, meridians, or energy pathways, for all organs flow through the abdominal area. By stimulating the abdomen, the energy center will develop. To stimulate and provide warmth in the Dahn-Jon (energy concentration in the abdomen), the practitioner should rub, press, and tap, the area around the ribs on both sides. The liver, spleen, and gall bladder meridians are all focused in the area, and eyesight should improve.
Trataka, or the “uninterrupted gaze,” is a method to cleanse the eyes and their passages. The center of the candle is the focus of the gaze, and complete awareness of the flickering nature of the candle is held. The practice stimulates the tear glands, and tears appear after about 10 minutes, cleansing the eyes.
Drishti involves looking at a specific object or point and focusing on it steadily for some time. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that drishti improves eyesight. Still, some people who practice yoga say that they have experienced improved vision after incorporating drishti into their yoga routine.
Another popular yoga method for eye health is the Palming Method. This is similar to the Bates Method and worth a try. The Palming Method involves cupping the hands over the eyes and allowing the warmth of the hands to relax the eye muscles. To practice the palming method for eye health, follow the steps below.
1. Wash your hands and face thoroughly.
2. Rub your palms together to generate heat.
3. Place your palms over your closed eyes, making sure not to touch your eyeballs.
4. Relax your whole body and breathe deeply.
5. Stay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes.
6. Open your eyes slowly and blink a few times before resuming normal activity.
Where’s the Research?
Medical research on alternative methods to improve vision is insufficient. Some health care providers advocate for specific methods, such as the Bates method or the use of eye exercises, but there is little scientific evidence to support these claims. Anecdotal reports and small studies suggest that some people may experience improved vision after using these techniques, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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