Eye Yoga

Technology use can take a toll on our eyes. Practicing “Eye Yoga” can help.

It’s clear across settings — we’re living in, “The Digital Age.” With iPads, iPhones, Androids, Chromebooks, and desktops (not archaic to us all), there is no shortage of devices from which to choose. People are  learning, working, communicating, and entertaining themselves using technology now, more than ever before.

Whether doing digital homework, playing video games, reading on a Kindle, or shopping on Instacart, using devices takes a toll on our eyes. Screen time adds up quickly, and let’s not forget about television and the big screen. With increasing reliance on technology, most of us, adults and children alike, are getting much more than our recommended daily amount.

It’s time we open our eyes, literally and figuratively! There are things we can do to relieve and strengthen our played-out peepers. Start teaching your students and children some of the following practices. Plan and encourage breaks from screen time, and don’t forget to practice what you preach. You’ve got to preserve your vision, since we both know that you don’t really have another set of eyes in the back of your head! 

“The Eyes Have (Had) It!”

To relieve eye strain and strengthen eye muscles, practice the following:

1) Palming (“Friction Addiction”) – Rub your hands together for 10-15 seconds, heating them up with friction. Gently place your warm palms over your closed eyes. Rest fingertips on forehead and balls of hands on cheeks. Don’t push on your eyes. Just allow them to enjoy the warm darkness. Breathe deeply.

palming eye yoga

2) Eye Rolling (That’s right!) – Sit upright. Soften your gaze and relax your face. Without moving your head, direct your gaze up toward the ceiling. Rotate your eyes around as if they are touching each number on a clock that is on your face. Do this in one direction. Then, repeat in the opposite direction. (2-3 times clockwise and counter-clockwise)

eye rolling eye yoga

3) Holding Focus (“Cross Eyes”) – Hold one arm straight out in front of you, thumb up. Focus your eyes on your thumb. Bring it slowly toward your nose until your eyes can no longer clearly focus on it. Pause and breathe. Slowly reach your arm back out, keeping your gaze focused on your thumb. Repeat up to 10 times.

focus shifting eye yoga

4) Distance Gazing (“Eye Spy”) – Hold one arm straight out in front of you, thumb up. Focus your eyes on your thumb. Now, shift your gaze from your thumb to an object in the distance. It can be out a window if you are inside. Focus your gaze on the object as clearly as you can. Keep your eyes and face relaxed. Breathe deeply. Then, shift your gaze back to your thumb. Repeat this until you have “spied” several different objects in the distance.   

distance gazing eye yoga

‘Eye’ hope this helps! Which strategy do you think you will try? Leave a comment!

Written By,

Jenny Wood

Jenny Wood has been an elementary school teacher near Athens, Georgia for the past 18 years. She is passionate about promoting mindful life strategies and practices with children and gets plenty of practice with her own two boys.

jenny wood

 

From Tired to Awake

School can be tiring sometimes.

Maybe in an elementary school it looks like laying on the carpet, instead of sitting criss cross. In a high school, it may be a flat out snore in the middle of lecture. Feeling the warm afternoon sunshine come through the window, even teachers can feel their eyes start to go droopy. I suddenly wish I would have had that second cup of coffee!

The good news is, there are quick and easy body strategies that can take us from tired to awake in under five minutes. The Tried to Awake routine can be done whole group or individually as needed.

I like to offer this routine to the whole group during Morning Meeting, when bodies are still sleepy, or after lunch. The effectiveness of this routine comes from the oscillation between an energizing movement and a resting movement.

We always like to meet a body where it’s at. So, if it is tired, we will begin with a resting position, such as child’s pose.

Child's Pose in first grade

Then, after three to five breaths, we transition into an energizing movement, like down dog. Pressing hands and feet into the floor is a great way to engage all muscle groups and wake up the body. Hold down dog for three to five breaths to feel fully engaged. We recommend three to four rounds, between child’s pose and down dog, for the full effect.Downdog on a First Grade carpet

Students in middle school and high school may be more comfortable with a seated variation. You can create a similar effect using head on desk and seated backbend, pictured below. Again, remember to hold each position for three to five breaths before transitioning.

head on desk

seated back bend

Blog Bonus! Use this audio to lead your students through the Tired to Awake Routine.

What have you tried to fend off the tired gazes of your students? Leave a Comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly