Yoga For Your Eyes (Part I)

Healthier Eyes Better Eyesight

We can improve our health and we can live longer by eating better, getting regular exercise, reducing stress and learning relaxation, but when it comes to our eyes we have a kind of helplessness. We accept the fact, that with eye glasses and newly advanced surgeries a lot of our eye problems can be corrected. Probably therefore we are not spending thoughts on the questioning, if or how we can prevent or avoid deterioration or diseases of our eyes.  But unfortunately the results of these interventions are not always satisfactory. And there are other eye problems where conventional medicine does not have sufficient solutions.

Just recently I saw an interview with Prof. Ilse Strempel, a German Ophthalmologist from the Clinic for Eye Diseases at Marburg University Hospital about treatments for Glaucoma (Glaucoma is the second-most frequent cause of blindness worldwide. It gradually does irreparable damage to the optic nerve by built-up pressure through impeding circulation within the eye). In addition to the standard approaches (medicine/surgery) she presented an amazing simple method to help and improve the condition.

The patient has to go once or twice a day into a deep relaxation by listening to a CD that is specifically created for eye relaxation. Not only was the pressure in the eye significantly reduced by practicing this relaxation but most of the patients could  reduce the medication, avoid surgeries and the overall health improved because it helped them to minimize stress in general.

Prof. Strempel said, they all were surprised how effective this method is, because in many cases it is very difficult to control and to stop the progress of the illness, even with good medications or surgeries. She also emphasized that stress and strong negative emotions influence the vision and the function of the eyes. Something that we might have all experienced: Some days we can see better than others.

These “new” discoveries by today’s Ophthalmologists totally confirm the teachings of Dr. William Bates and by Dr. Meir Schneider, who overcame his own congenital (cataract) blindness by using Dr. Bates method for eye exercises.

Dr. William Bates an American ophthalmologist discovered the connection between the eyes and the mind. Over many years he observed the eyes of hundred of patients in every kind of activity, emotional state, and physical condition. He noted how their eyes changed when they were doing enjoyable work, when they were doing work they disliked, when they were anxious or fatigued or when they were excited, focused or relaxed. His research shows how vision defects can be created and/or worsened by stress of everyday situations. As a result of his discovery he developed the Bates Method for Eye Exercises.

Dr. Meir Schneider overcame his own congenital blindness by practicing very faithfully Dr. Bates method in his teenage years, Meir Schneider is the most encouraging example of what can be done, when somebody is determined and disciplined. He became a doctor and is the founder of the School for Self-Healing in San Francisco.

According to Dr. Meir Schneider Self-Healing is the process of accessing the body’s natural powers to create health through gentle movement, breathing, self-massage, visualization and coordination exercises. He teaches people around the world with great success how they can prevent or improve eye problems by doing simple (eye) exercises, that he calls Yoga for the Eyes.  I met Dr. Meir Schneider a few years ago during his stay here at Lake Side, when he gave some lectures and a workshop in Ajijic and Guadalajara.  Later, I attended a second workshop with him in Cuernavaca/Mexico.

In his 3 – day workshops he dedicates one full day to the eyes. With remarkable simple techniques people learn how to undo strain caused by computer use, reading and other close-up work, how to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses, prevent age-related vision deterioration, balance the use of their  eyes (one eye is strong, one is weak)  and improve their visual focus, near and far and night vision and explains how critical the overuse of sunglasses can be! Like me, everybody who worked with him was fascinated and impressed by his clear and logical self-healing system.

As you know, daily exercise in which we move our muscles are important for a good health. But do you know that our eyes also have a lot of muscles? Changing to near and distant, bright light or darkness requires flexibility of the tiny muscles of our eyes. Also the eyes are uniquely connected to the brain. Chemical changes in the brain – caused by drugs, emotional states and mental conditions also affect our eyesight.  Unfortunately our modern stressful life with computers, sun glasses, and lots of activities inside of rooms are not helpful to keep our eyes in good shape.

The  3 basic principles of Yoga for  Eyes are:

  • Relaxation
  • Adjusting to varying intensities of light
  • Balancing your eyes

To work within these fields Meir Schneider created several techniques and exercises, for example:

Relaxation and self-massage techniques (for body, shoulder neck, face and eyes), Palming, Sunning, , Blinking, Shifting, Stimulating peripheral vision, The ”Long Swing”, Reading Upside Down, and Creating Flexibility between near and distant vision.

In my next article I will give you more information about these exercises and how you can do some of them on your own. Please check out Dr. Meir Schneider’s website regarding newsletter, workshops, books, DVD’s, Tapes etc.

Barbara Rotthaler, German licensed Holistic Practitioner and Naturopath can be reached at 01 376 766 1987, by email: or visit http://www.

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