Eye & body relaxation

Body relaxation

Relaxation is a state of the body when the muscles become relaxed, breath slows down and gets deeper, heart rate is lower, skin resistance is changed, etc. To discuss the state of passive eye relaxation proposed by Dr. Bates, first we should know the method of relaxation and unwinding the whole body, since it is difficult to rest the eyes by relaxing their muscles if the whole body remains tensed. The mental strain, neurosis, anxious disorder and stress all tense our muscles, including the eyeball muscles responsible for quality and acuity of vision. When our body is tired, the eyes will never function normally. The basic rules of relaxation are as follows:

  1. Be sure that you have enough sleep to rest your body and so the eyes.
  2. Engage your body in a lot of movement by sports. I advise especially to visit a swimming pool once a week, and try such recreational sports like jogging, cycling, ice-skating, skating or even an ordinary evening walk. Choose the one you enjoy the most, and your body and eyes will turn the favor in a short time.
  3. Before moving to the vision exercises, go through some of the relaxation exercises for the body and mind below.
Exercise R1. Stretching exercises

This exercise is in a sense a “warm-up” that should be practiced before moving to the proper vision practice. 2 minutes will be enough to relax our arms, neck and muscles of the upper body part, which is a good base for the further practice.

Stand straight in a small stretch and perform the following exercises:

  1. Move your arms circularly to one side and another.
  2. Tilt the body to the right so as the right hand sets itself along the right leg. Repeat with the left body part.
  3. Perform semi-turns with the upper body to the left and right.
  4. Put your palms together and make circular turns with your hands in front of your body.
  5. Come to the wall or door and while leaning with your hands, make a pump-like move, moving your chest and stretching the back muscles.
  6. Make five turns with the neck to the right and left keeping your head at the same height.
  7. Make five turns with the neck from the starting position (straight head) to the left (to the bottom) and again back to the top, then repeat the steps to the right.
  8. Lower your head so that the chin can touch the body, and make five turns to right and left keeping the head in the position.

You can modify this exercise set at own will. The aim is to relax the upper body, especially the nape and the neck.

Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: R2
Eye strain: low
Exercise R2. Brain gym exercises

Below exercises were introduced by Paul Dennison to stimulate your brain and whole body for further practice. You do not need to go through them all, just choose those that most appeal to you.

Alternate movements
Raise the right knee and touch it with the left elbow, then set the right elbow to the raised left knee (this is like marching in place). This exercise stimulates large areas of both brain hemispheres and improves their communication.

Lazy eights
Do this exercise drawing or tracking the figure eight laid over its side (sign of eternity) with your eyes. Always start to move your eyes from the center to the left and top – left hand, then the right hand and finish with both hands set together. This exercise integrates both hemispheres, relaxes the muscles of hands and arms, supports the eye movement and good eye – hand coordination.

Lazy eights for the eyes
Keep the thumb at the height of the eye in the center line of the body along the elbow. Keep your head still but loose and move only your eyes to track the thumb. Draw the eights with the thumb as above. Continue this even, smooth movement with each hand at least 3 times. Then, both hands set together form X. Focusing on the center of X, track the thumbs set together by drawing a lazy eight again. The lazy eights are for the eyes just as lazy eights for the hand in writing, but here we are focused on the eye movement and improvement of hand – eye and eye – hand coordination.

Pull out your hand with its dorsum upside, set your head on the arm of the hand pulled out, have your knees bent slightly, stand in a small stride. Draw the lazy eights in the air with your hands (have your ear set to the arm). Your entire body is working. This exercise activates the brain lobes and is one of the most integrating exercises of the brain gym.

Energetic yawning
Touch the place on the teeth right before the place of connection of the bottom jaw with the top jaw with the ends of your fingers, massage it and slightly open the mouth imaging that you are yawning. This exercise relaxes the muscles and supports the full functioning of the nerves in the temporomaxillary joint improving all the nerve systems to and from the eyes, as well as the muscles of face and mouth.

Circular movements with the neck
Lower the chin as much as possible, move the head slowly from one arm to another, breathe freely. Abdominal breathing. Breathe in with your nose. First, clear the lungs breathing out through the pressed lips. Place the hands on the belly and move them up as you breathe in, and down when you breathe out. Breathe in and count to three, stop breathing for three seconds, breathe out and count to three, then stop breathing for three seconds again. This breathing pattern is 3-3-3. You can also try the breathing pattern 6-1-6.

Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: R1
Eye strain: low
Palming theory

Eye relaxation can be achieved by closing and concealing the eyes with hands so as not to expose them to light. The exclusion of visual sensations itself is sometimes sufficient to achieve a deep relaxation. The closing and concealing of the eyes will not give the expected results if there is the accompanying mental stress. If you do palming in a perfect way, you are going to see a black field that you have not experienced before and cannot imagine or see something blacker, and at this moment, your vision will be correct.

The persons whose sight function is defective are going to have hard time with achieving the effect of full blackness in front of the eyes in the beginning. As a result of stress within the eyeball, the visual field will be filled with grey clouds, darkness in bright stripes and moving lights and colors.

With the achievement of passive eye relaxation these negative sensations are going to fade away. To achieve the effect of perfect blackness, it may be helpful to remind yourself about some black objects such as the piano, gumboots, patent leather shoes, cat, well, hole, etc. For many people, it turned out to be helpful to recall all perfectly black letters of alphabet one after another. The longer the palming is, the greater is the state of relaxation and the darker the shade of blackness both remembered and seen. However, it needs to be stressed that some people can correctly do palming for a short time, but feel considerable stress when the practice gets longer. The cases of practicing palming for even several hours have been reported, but based on my experience, palming exercise should not take more than half an hour. It will be enough to conceal the eyes for 30-60 seconds between the exercises and devote more time, from 10 to 30 minutes, to relaxation (for example when the sight is particularly tired).

Exercise R3. Palming (eye concealing)
  1. If you are sitting at the table, set yourself in a position with the elbows leant against the table (optionally put a pillow under the elbows) or lean the elbows against the knees.
  2. Conceal the eyes with crossed palms so that no light ray reaches them. The fingers should lie on the forehead, the bottom side of the palms leaning against the cheekbone, while the edges touch lightly the nose. The palms should be set as to allow the eyes blink freely. If you like warm, you can rub the hands together before setting them together, thus raising their temperature. If your sight is rested, you will found that your visual field is entirely filled with homogenous blackness. Some people will see the flashes of light, vibrating colors, greyness and other visual illusions.
  3. Visualize darkness and blackness. Breathe slowly through the nose (breathe in – breathe out). Feel the stretching of muscles and different parts of body (shoulders, hands, legs, thighs, feet, ribs, etc.) when inhaling and their contraction when exhaling.
  4. Visualize, for example, that your home is black, then the same with the city, country and a whole continent. You can imagine an object or place that reminds you of black color. It can be: black paint, black piano, black patent leather shoes, dark night, deep well, etc. Focus on this object and imagine its depth of darkness. The larger the blackness before your eyes, the more relaxed is your sight.
  5. The eyes may be closed or open as you feel comfortable.
  6. Make several slight movements with the eyes from up to down, from right to left, and circular.
  7. Open your eyes slowly and try to feel if your eyes are unwound and relaxed, which makes your vision improved.
Duration: 1-60 minutes
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: R4
Eye strain: low
Light exposure theory

Nowadays, in the time of domination of sunglasses, we are hardly accustomed to the intense light or its rapid change. It can hardly be rationally explained why we need to wear dark glasses on the nose in sunny days. For thousands of years, sunny days did not bothered us at all, and also today, in many countries, the man behind dark glasses arouses common interest, if not laugh and pity.

The process of adoption of proper responses to light is one of the basic methods in the art of conscious vision. For the eyes to see properly and remain in the state of unwinding and relaxation, the sunlight is indispensable.

According to Dr. Bates, the “sun baths”, with their anti-bacteria effect, are medicinal to many inflammatory conditions of eyes and eyelashes. The baths further release a harmful stress from the eyeball muscles, lower the sensitivity to the dazzling and bright lighting, do away with the apprehension of light, wrinkling of brows and blinking of eyes. They also represent the initial stage of acquiring passive and dynamic eye relaxation, which is an essential condition for the reeducation of sight.

Exercise R4. Solarization
  1. Stand or sit in a place where you can look into the sun. If it is an especially sunny day, looking at the brightly lit sky will suffice. When the weather conditions are unfavorable or there is no sunny place, use a lamp with the bulb of a minimum power of 100 Watt.
  2. Close the eyes and turn your face slowly to the sun, sky or bulb.
  3. Move your head slightly and slowly to the sides about 20-30 times. The constant head movement is very important not to allow too long exposure of only one retinal section. Too sunlight sensitive individuals are advised to begin sunbathing with turning their faces to the sky, instead of directly to the sun.
  4. Do 1-minute palming taking long and slow breaths.
  5. You can go through the steps 3-4 again if you have enough time. Sometimes try sunlight exposure for about 20 minutes to see how much does it affect the rest of your eyes and stimulation of irises. Make head movements all the time not to expose the eye in the same place. Should any complaints occur, turn your head away from the sun and conceal the eyes with hands for a while.
  6. NOTE: never open the eyes and look directly into the sun. It can cause a permanent damage to your eyes. The exercises above can be performed only with the eyelashes closed and constant movement of eyes. Should a discomfort or pain occur at any time, stop the practice and do the palming.

Duration: 2-10 minutes.
Repetitions: 2-5 times per day
Alternative exercises: R3
Eye strain: medium
Exercise R5. Energizing your eyes

The eyes and entire process of vision need about 30% of all available energy, therefore it is very important to supply your eyes. The aim of the exercise below is to dispose from the eyes the former energy that was used up and refill them with the blessing, new one. It was taken from the book of Leo Angart Improve Your Eyesight Naturally. The exercise may seem funny and the result insignificant, but do not be deluded by this and try it for at least 2 weeks. It is ideal as a supplement to the phase of eye relaxation exercises and should be performed after them to allow the eyes acquire sufficient energy before the more straining exercises. It is worth mention that this exercise performed alone allowed some individuals to eliminate a large visual defect (~2 diopters) in a short time when practiced with 30-minute breaks.

The exercise should be done at least 3 times per day (preferably when we are finished with relaxation practice).

  1. Touch with your finger pads the center of your hands and shake them intensely.
  2. Imagine the soft color energy of a green apple flowing from the center of your hands to the crooked fingers, in the form of green energy radiation.
  3. Close your eyes and turn the green energy straight into the energy center located between your eyes (brows). Imagine that an incessant stream of invigorating energy is flowing from your hands straight to the eyes filling them with this energy. Visualize how the energy fills your eyes, from the lens to the fovea centralis retinae, reaching also the muscles surrounding the eye and the visual nerve. Take from 6 to 8 deep breaths during the process of transferring energy. Lower your hands.
  4. Then, imagine that you have a glove of transparent green energy on your hand, which comes out about 10 cm from the fingers. Use this energy to dispose (sweep away) the former and used-up energy from your eyes. It is important to purify the energy from each part of the eyes, which is difficult to penetrate, from the back through the cornea, vitreous body, muscles around the eyes, and lens and brows. You feel that you dispose the used-up energy from your eyes.
  5. Now, imagine lavender energy (of bright violet) flowing from your palms and direct it towards the energetic point between the eyes. This lavender energy reactivates your energy in the whole visualization system. Feel how this energy penetrates all hidden parts of your eyes, eye muscles and visual nerve. Duration: 6-8 breaths.
  6. Turn your head left (if you are right-handed). Locate your energetic point from the back of the head on the same height as your eyes.
  7. Imagine green energy and purify the energetic center shortly. Then, imagine white energy at the back of your head flowing directly from the fingers to the back of the brain. This will energize the primary visual area at the back of the head, which is filled slowly with white purifying energy from your fingers. Go on with the flow of energy to the center of your brain where it breaks into 2 streams of white energy that flow along the optic nerve towards the eyes, crossing before reaching them (right stream to the left eye, left stream to the right eye). The streams come to the back of the eyes energizing the retina, yellow spot, eye muscles, lens and cornea of each eye as far as to the eyelashes. Imagine your eyes filled with diamond energetic white light. Be guided by intuition as to when to finish this process.
  8. Imagine that your eyes are a paint roller filled with sky-blue energy. By one or two strokes paint your eyes with a blue layer of energy from both sides of the white energy. The blue color acts as a stabilizer of energy in the eyes.
  9. In the end, rub your hands together until they become soft and warm. Finish with a 30-second palming (eye concealing). During the first days of practice, you may not be able to see the colors, but this will come with time.
Duration: 2-3 minutes.
Repetitions: 2-3 times per day
Alternative exercises: R7
Eye strain: low
Exercise R6. Blinking

The large amounts of dust in the air gather also on the surface of our eyes, therefore the regular and unimpeded blinking is essential to purify and moisten the eyes. Blinking is also the simplest possible technique that guarantees a temporary relaxation of sight. The individuals with a visual defect blink very rarely having a propensity to stare and goggle. On the other hand, those who use the sight in a natural way, blink frequently and with ease. Unfortunately, in the case of stress which bothers the people with a visual defect, there is a tendency to an irregular blinking and work of eyelashes under stress. Blinking further eliminates the harmful habit of staring.

The functions and roles of blinking: smearing and cleansing of the eyes with tears, and a temporary passive rest (eye concealing) through exclusion from exposure. Therefore, it is very important to blink as frequently as possible (every 1-3 seconds), which ensures moistening and relaxation of your eyes.

  1. Blink quickly and freely 6-10 times, and conceal the slightly closed eyes for a few seconds.
  2. Blink 10-20 times and conceal your eyes for a few seconds again.
Duration: 1 minute.
Repetitions: 2-10 times per day
Alternative exercises: R3
Eye strain: low
Exercise R7. Chinese eye acupressure
This exercise is aimed at improving the flow of energy in the eyeballs and head. It relies on the ancient Chinese tradition of acupuncture and is especially helpful when we begin to be tired mentally. If some of the pressure points are sensitive, it means that the energy flow is obstructed. The massaging movements allow the energy channels to open.

The exercise should be performed with thumb pads or index fingers depending on which are easier to press a given point with. All the points of interest to us are marked on the figure, and their precise location can be easily identified since when pressed, they will give us strong pain. Each point should be gently massaged and pressed in order to clear the flow of energy. The pressure should not cause acute pain, but be gradually increased as we are massaging a point.

  1. 3 green points on the upper eyepit bone. Massage with circular movements pressing gently.
  2. 3 blue points on the lower eyepit bone. You can also use several fingers here and massage the whole lower eyepit bone.
  3. 3 red points around the nose according to the figure.
Duration: 2-4 minutes
Repetitions: 1-2 times per day
Alternative exercises: R5
Eye strain: low
Exercise R8. Alternate eye movements
It is one of the basic and simple exercises that stretches the eye muscles, a kind of a “warm-up” before further practice. We can perform it in any place.
  1. It can be performed while standing or sitting.
  2. Perform several eye movements from up to down keeping your head still. The vision should be engaged in gentle movements and unconcerned with the objects around.
  3. Now, perform similar movements, but from left to right and vice versa this time. Repeat this procedure several times.
  4. Next, the movements should be performed diagonally, from bottom-left to top-right.
  5. Now, perform the diagonal movements from top-left to bottom-right.
  6. Next, perform several circular clockwise and anticlockwise movements.
  7. The eye movement should be within the maximum visual range for a particular plane;
Duration: 1-2 minutes
Repetitions: 2-4 times per day
Alternative exercises: A1, C3
Eye strain: medium