Benefits of Eye Yoga
As I progress in my yoga teacher training and wellness journey, I have been continuously learning the importance of eye movement and nervous system regulation.
I have witnessed the transformational power of eye movement in my life by practicing EDMR therapy for the last several months. It has helped me release past trauma and process past and present experiences, and put them into a new light. I've also studied the benefits of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so it comes to no surprise that eye movement is an integral part of yoga.
Eye Movement and Your Nervous System
Dr. Arielle Schwartz gives some insight on the connection between the eyes, vagus nerve and mental health:
“Eye movements can increase blood flow to the vertebral artery and stimulate the vagus nerve as it passes through the upper neck. Relaxing the muscles in the eyes engages an innate reflex called the oculocardiac reflex (OCR) which initiates a parasympathetic response to slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure.” Dr. Arielle Schwartz
The Vagus Nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It connects your brain to your gut, heart and lungs - the real gut-brain connection. Poor vagal tone has been associated with depression, anxiety and other mood issues. Stimulating the vagus nerve via eye movement can be a powerful tool to access the parasympathetic nervous system and increase relaxation.
EMDR and Rapid Eye Technology are two therapeutic methods that help patients deal with trauma and distressing experiences utilizing eye movement. That is because eye movement can help access sensory data such as memories, feelings, sounds, scents, etc. When you access these memories in a safe environment, you can process and release them potentially addressing the root cause of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
Eye yoga can be beneficial not only to strengthen the eye muscles, potentially alleviating eye strain, but also stimulating the vagus nerve for increased relaxation response. Don't be surprised if old memories, patterns or thoughts come to surface during this process as eye movement can also tap into to those.
Rashmi Ramesh is a certified yoga teacher that is known for her fusion of Yoga and Pilates. On the video below, she teaches us how to perform a 10-minute eye yoga sequence perfect for those that are staring at the screen all day, but also those that wish to increase vagal tone and access deeper healing within themselves.
Yoga Knowledge Disclaimer
I am currently studying yoga through the Bhodi Yoga Center. Bodhi Yoga™ is a therapeutic style of yoga that benefits beginners and challenges advanced students of any age or ability. It utilizes the power of the "slow approach," where the journey is as important as the destination.
Consult your physician before starting any new intense workout regimen.
Yoga is a ancient tradition linked to Indian cultures. I am not of Indian cultural descent and try to practice yoga from a place of learning and deep respect for cultures that made this practice available for all of us. Any yogic knowledge you see on this page was not created or invented by me, rather established and practiced for thousands of years. For more information on the history of Yoga, click here and visit the Indian Yoga Association webpage.
Join my newsletter!
I often share in my newsletter yoga poses and practices related to lowering stress and inflammation! Enter your e-mail below to subscribe.