If the eyes really are the window to the soul, it makes sense to treat them with the same respect as our bodies. Enter: eye yoga, the new wellness trend on the block, which promises brighter, better rested peepers in under five minutes. While those more au fait with downward dog and crow poses might feel a little puzzled, yoga for the eyes is about stretching the muscles around the eyes, rather than flowing through Chaturanga.
“Similar to regular yoga, each time you practice eye yoga the muscles involved will become stronger and find more length,” explains Chatty Dobson, yoga teacher and founder of FLEX Chelsea. The idea is that by strengthening the muscles around the eyes, the area will look more lifted and awake and eye health will be improved. It’s not just an aesthetic thing – since so many of us are subjecting our eyes to strain every day through hours spent staring at screens, looking after the muscles in the area is more important than ever for our health too.
“Strengthening the muscles of the eye also reduces the deterioration of eye focus that we see as we age, and the stretch that we receive from eye yoga is hugely beneficial in easing tension headaches and relaxing the muscles of the face in general,” points out Dobson, who deems it so important that it will be a part of FLEX’s on-demand digital fitness platform when it launches later in the month.
So, how does one practise eye yoga? Here Dobson shares three of her top eye yoga moves for you to do at home – and they shouldn’t take longer than five minutes.
- Relax the muscles of the face. Wiggle out the jaw and eyebrows to help soften them. Eyes gently closed.
- Keeping them closed, look all the way up (eyes still closed) and count to four, slowly look all the way down, count to four. Repeat three times.
- Repeat, but this time looking left and right. When you’ve done that, look top left to bottom right, then top right to bottom left.
- Blink as fast as you can 10 times, then sit with eyes closed for a slow count of five. Repeat five times.
- Sit for a while longer at the end to notice any sensations that arise.
- Sit up tall with your arms out straight in front of you, hand in a “thumbs up” position.
- Bring your gaze and your focus to your thumb nail. Hold for the count of four, then slowly bring your thumb towards your nose until your eyes can no long focus. Hold for another four, then slowly extend your arm again, keeping your focus on your thumb throughout. Repeat five times.
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