For Your Eyes Only

Do you find your eyes glazing over as you stare at your computer screen? Do you work in an air conditioned room that dries out your eyes? Are your eyes blinded when you step out into daylight? Do you suffer with poor night vision, tired eyes or a world that sometimes looks just plain fuzzy? The eye is one of the hardest working organs in the body and thus it is hardly surprising that people who use their eyes a lot become fatigued more rapidly than others. Imagine if you expected your legs to work at the same intensity as your eyes - day after day! Poor eyes! Perhaps it is time to see your eyes in a new light and move from the short-sighted squinter to the Ninja-warrior-night-owl! This transformation was recently experienced by me in a 90 minute yoga class for the eyes. OK perhaps Ninja-warrior-night-owl is a slight exaggeration, but I was amazed at the new-found expansiveness of my vision and indeed it was also a revelation to look at the world without the benefit of my constantly worn contact lenses.

yoga eyes

Most of us overwork our eyes, but we also don't give our eyes a chance to reach their full capacity. Like our bodies our eyes can become out of condition. We frequently gaze with tunnel vision, concentrating with a hard stare on one precise object and increasingly oblivious to the powers of our peripheral vision. This is where the Ninja bit comes in.....

In the Japanese art of Aikido there is a practice called "soft eyes". Soft eyes happen when we relax the muscles around our eyes and then as we focus on an object we just let the edges blur making the object "soft". Soft eyes allow us to make use of our peripheral vision more effectively. We take in the whole room, the whole landscape, without straining for any visual impression. "Soft eyes absorb the world, rather than trying to capture it". Seeing in this way sends an entirely different set of signals to the brain from seeing with "hard" eyes. As our eyes see more, somehow our brains become more open and receptive to the possibilities around us, our peripheral vision is enhanced, the depth of our field appears to be greater and colours seem more vivid. Soft eyes also tend to have a calming effect on the people around us, and often on ourselves as well. By paying more attention to our eyes, we begin to develop a relationship with our eyes that increases the body and mind connection. Quite simply soften your eyes and look for your super powers!