Sunday, September 2, 2012

 Hi Youthful Yogis!
I hope everybody is having an excellent long weekend! Personally, I've been thinking about my eyes a lot...because a few days ago I went to get an eye exam and, guess what?  It was actually a lot of fun!

Here's what I got to do...first, I had to read a poster that looks like this:

I'm not sure, but I think that last line says that I've won a free trip to Fiji! 

Next, I got to look into a gadget that looks like this:

...and it made me feel like this:

I guess I did all right on my eye exam since the doctor said she doesn't need to see me again for another year. That gives me 12 months to practice reading the last line of that eye chart...I really hope I win a cruise to Fiji!   

Youthful Yogis know the importance of taking good care of their eyes. Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are two things we can do to support our vision. Believe it or not, there are also  exercises we can do to strengthen our eyes, just like we strengthen and tone the rest of our body. 

"After this, I'm doing my eye exercises...seriously!"

Eye exercises make a great addition to any yoga practice. Here are a few you might like to try...when doing these exercises, make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position; maintain a smooth deep breath, and plan on having fun!

1)  Eye Circles: without turning your head, slowly make large circles with your eyes; make two or three big circles in one direction then close your eyes for a few seconds to rest. Next, slowly make two or three large eye circles in the other direction. Close your eyes for a few seconds when you're done and blink, if you like. That increases blood flow to the eyes and helps to keep them moist! 

2) Figure Eights: Sitting comfortably, imagine that you are staring at the shape of a figure eight on it's side: follow the lines of the shape with your gaze, circling down, up, over and around. You'll look kind of funny doing this, but it's really a great exercise! Once you've outlined the shape of the eight three or four times in one direction,  reverse and trace the lines going the other way. Rest your eyes when you're done.

3) Palming: Our eyes, just like the rest of our body, can feel tired and tense sometimes, especially at the end of the day. Palming is a great way to give your eyeballs a relaxing treat!

 Sit comfortably and rub the palms of your hands together so they feel super warm. Next, close your eyes, cup your hands and cover your eyes with your cupped hands...this will block out most of the light, but you should not feel pressure on the eyeballs.  Palming allows the warmth of your hands to radiate into the area of the eyes and this feels really good, no kidding! You can practice palming whenever you like; it's definitely nice after Figure Eights, Eye Circles, and other eye-strengthening sets.

I hope you'll have fun practicing these eye exercises, Youthful Yogis. And before we say goodbye, there is one more exercise I'd like to share with you...officially, it's a pranayama technique, which means it relates to how we use our breath. This exercise relaxes the face, improves our immune system and strengthens and stimulates the eyes. Maybe you know what I'm talking's Lions Breath, of course!  

"Remember I told you not to do this with Gummy Bears in your mouth?!"

Lions Breath involves exhaling out of the mouth as you extend your tongue toward your chin and make the sound "ha". When you exhale, direct your eyes over the tip of your nose; or you can look up between your eyebrows. 

Here are three examples of Lions Breath (the Gummy Bear guy doesn't count):
A real lion, showing us how it's done

A man named BKS Iyengar, who really knows what he's doing


Bart and Lisa Simpson, who seem to make their way into this blog a lot...although this time it actually looks like  they're sticking with the program!

That's all the time we have for now, Youthful Yogis. Thanks for joining me today and I hope you'll have fun taking good care of your eyes.

I'll catch up with you again soon, unless of course I win that cruise to Fiji....then you may not hear from me for a while!


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