The average adult spends three hours a day on their phone. That’s 45 days a year. On our phones! Let’s not even talk about what that means for a lifetime. And while cellphone companies have recently begun to release screen time reports and other mechanisms to help us track our cell usage, most of us still spend an embarrassing amount of time glued to our devices.
All of that cellphone time is one contributing factor to eyestrain. If you have one of the symptoms of eyestrain—which can include sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes; light sensitivity; blurred vision; and headaches—yoga can help. Yes, yoga. Eye yoga, to be exact.
Usually when most people think of yoga, they think of perfectly posed yogis balancing on a foot or upside down in an inversion, with a candy-colored sunset as their backdrop. Don’t get me wrong. Y’all know I’m very much here for a #doitforthegram moment. However, that’s not what I’m talking about when it comes to eye yoga.
Instead, eye yoga is a much more relaxed set of exercises that can be done throughout your day to improve the flexibility of your eyes and to help you focus better. This sort of strengthening is not how most common eye disorders are typically addressed.
That said, while yoga is a powerful tool for holistic health, yoga should not be used as a substitute for medical attention. Particularly if you have diseases such as cataract and glaucoma, which occur due to bacterial infections, please consult a medical professional before engaging in these activities.
How to do eye yoga.
Here are a few popular eye yoga exercises you can try out. Try each one and see which feels best for you!
Closing your eyes and repeatedly looking up and down, then left and right. As you’re doing so, pretend you’re looking at the numbers on a clock in front of you. Repeat looking from 12 to 3 and then from 6 to 9. Repeat this five times and then reverse the direction.
Closing your eyes for several seconds to increase moisture on your eyeballs. Then do zigzags. Look left to right then right to left with your eyes closed and travel from the top to the bottom of your eye sockets.
Blinking rapidly several times and then closing your eyes and relaxing for 20 seconds. Look as far as you can down with your eyes closed, as far as you can to the left, as far as you can up, as far as you can to the right, then reverse the direction holding each position for five seconds.
Rubbing your hands together rapidly and then placing the base of your palms over your closed eyes. Hold until the heat from your hands has been absorbed into your eyes.
From where you’re sitting, choose an object in the distance and stare at it without blinking for 20 seconds. Place your thumb immediately below the point of concentration. Then begin shifting your focus between the object and the tip of your thumb. Repeat several times.
The eyes are actually one of the most overlooked parts of our body. In fact, late physician Swami Sivananda considered our eyes “the most wonderful, most delicate and most precious organ. It is the window of the soul.” So next time you’re looking for something to do during your morning commute on public transportation (not recommended while driving) or at your desk when you have downtime at work—take a few moments to love on your eyes with these eye yoga exercises. Your eyes will thank you.
[This article originally appeared in MindBodyGreen]