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