|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 40-41
Better sight and clarity of vision through Yoga
Department of Physiology, NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
|Date of Submission||19-Feb-2022|
|Date of Decision||12-Mar-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||04-Apr-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||29-Jun-2022|
Department of Physiology, NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, Meghalaya
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Barooah R. Better sight and clarity of vision through Yoga. AYUHOM 2021;8:40-1
Health is a state of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. It is a combined effort at maintaining nutrition; correct choice of food and feeding habits; regular exercises; reducing exposure to stressful stimuli and/or developing effective coping mechanisms; learning and practicing relaxation techniques; and maintaining and nurturing relationships that help us evolve into a more effective, disciplined, and progressive human being – all these measures come in a single package of Yoga and Meditation which regulate not only the physiological functions but actually set the aberrant anatomy too within the parameters of health and homeostasis. Yoga is directed at maintaining a healthy relationship with self and others. By self, we refer to self-care of own body, mind, and emotions and cultivating nurturing relationships with our organs and organ systems. Thus, our eyes too are not only mechanical tools but are also affected by the state of mind and our attitudes.
Today, young children with thick glasses/contact lenses are often a common sight, especially in educational institutes. Causes and reasons may be many – ranging from congenital anomalies and genetic defects to faulty lifestyle habits, and more due to disruption of circadian rhythm and natural light. It is a common belief that cure and prevention of refractive errors do not exist and can only be corrected with glass.
Improvement in vision and in the functions of the eye is not a myth; only the degree to which the improvement occurs is variable in each individual. Physiology is not changing, unfortunately, at the same rate as advancement of technology. Our eyes, too are put to functions for which they were not intended to. The common refractive error, myopia, is not caused by reading but by straining to see distant objects. In fact, reading fine prints are beneficial to the eyes than large prints which are stressful as the eye has to traverse a larger area. The eyes function like miniature cameras with a lens, iris and diaphragm. Making an effort to see objects is an abnormal behavior.
The 126 million light pigment creates millions of images on the retina every single minute, which are transmitted to other areas of the brain to be perceived, interpreted, and then decided either to be stored or to be ignored. The brain selects the portion of the picture one decides to see or not to see. In other words, vision – how poor or good – is largely a function of the brain. Western medicine is mainly symptomatic and highly focused on alleviating the deficiency and removal of the defect either by surgery, medical therapy, or by prescribed glasses and not on enhancing vision and expansion of the visual field. Vision is influenced mainly by the following factors namely the object of sight, organ of sight with its sensory function, attention and interpretation of the image. All these factors have to be cared for, starting from maintaining the right posture of the eyelids, blinking, placing, reading fine prints and in the right way, swinging, and sunning. In fact, central fixation (the ability to focus the object on a central spot in the retina) and exposure of the eyes to sunlight are beneficial to eyes, contrary to popular practice.
The important fact to consider is that the eyes see perfectly only what they have seen before. Sight is best and most clear in a quiet mind. In order to achieve this, one needs to undergo detoxification, stimulation of the vital life force, and relaxation of the mind.
Nearsightedness results from mental stress, even from an early age, on account of the uncertainty of the future or aversion to the tasks and avoidance of the activities one is thrust with. Farsightedness, on the other hand, starts beyond the age of 40 – when viable alternatives and options are discovered.
In other words, vision problems manifest as a lack of clarity in distant or near vision, either literally or even metaphorically. By changing the shape of the lens on stimulation of ciliary nerves, the focal length of the eye changes, and hence, the object appears hazy as the image is formed either in front or behind the retina. The Bates method is a series of exercises designed to enhance eyesight without the use of glasses. His observations included the change in the eyes and how people behaved when in a bad mood. His findings include that visual clarity differs in the same person according to the emotional affinity with the task. The yogic exercises based on the Bates method are equally effective in correcting refractive errors, structural defects, squints, and lazy eyes. To achieve this, the way to look at objects and perception needs to change in order to improve the vision, which is an arduous task. We also need to keep in mind that memory and imagination are the major tools of the mind which is actually carried out in a pictorial format. Eyes need to focus on detail from close to far away, both in the dark and in the light of the day. The organ also needs to change to soft eyes that dart to and fro easily enough.
Poor vision thus arises from a complex interplay within the body–mind axis including emotions and memory. What we perceive through the mind's eye is actually not very different from what we see through the physical eye.
To be present with the eyes exactly the way they are, setting aside any preconceptions and reveling at the true experiences form the fundamental concepts of yogic exercises in order to improve vision.
Our eyes are designed to focus on the detail, focus quickly enough from a faraway object to a close one, either in light (both in artificial as well as natural daylight) or in dark. Instead of straining to look, we need to take note of what we do not see. All the exercises are, therefore, categorized into
- Relaxation practices
- Exercises and activities pertaining to adjustment to varying intensity of light repetitive and sustained movement of the eyeballs to increase the strength and tone of the muscles around the eye
- Relaxation of the body before attempting the exercises is a prerequisite. Self-massaging of the face and facial muscles also help.
Discussion on improving vision in the yogic way will remain incomplete without the mention of tratak. Tratak or intent gazing at one point, without blinking, greatly sharpens the vision (enhances the tone and strength of the ciliary muscles) which is Bahir-tratak. Once tears start flowing, the eyes are shut and the practitioner visualizes the same with closed eyes (see with the mind's eye), also called Antar-tratak. In fact, this is categorized as a cleansing process aimed to train the mind to do away with distractive thoughts of the mind, thus sharpening one-pointed focus, intention, and tenacity.
Needless to say, all yogic activities are aimed at establishing a harmonious and healthy existence achieved through understanding and acknowledging the relationship of the mind with the individual organs as the eyes, avoiding overstraining, and making time for adequate rest to the eyes.
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