Sunday, January 17, 2010

17. Breathing

The Idea: All the systems of the body need oxygen to function properly. This is especially true for the eyes. By focusing on the breath we set an intention to bring oxygen to the eyes and brain. Conscious breathing also helps the body and the mind to relax. This is essential for developing greater vision.

How To:
Step 1: Sit, stand, or lie down in a comfortable and relaxed position. It can be helpful if you can look off into the distance.
Step 2: Notice the shoulders—are they relaxed? Relax them. How about the neck? The jaw? The face? Relax these too.
Step 3: Notice the breath. Inhale fully, expanding the ribs outward and upward. Exhale completely, drawing the navel toward the spine. Keep Keep relaxing shoulders, neck, jaw and face as you inhale and exhale.
Step 4: Deepen the breath. Make each inhale and each exhale a little bit longer than the one before it.
Step 5: Pause at the top of your inhales, holding the breath in and filling the full the expansion of the lungs. Pause at the bottom of you exhales, feeling the effects of tucking the navel in toward the spine.
Step 6: While you do this, look off into the distance, allowing the eyes to relax as they breathe.

When to Practice Deep Breathing: Do this breathing exercise every day. Practice deep breathing while practicing any other eye exercises. Also remeber to breathe deeply while doing other things that work the eyes, such as reading and writing. Are you breathing right now?

More Info:
• All forms of yoga and meditation highlight breathing as a core principle of their practices. Some of the cues given above come from Ana Forrest, founder of Forrest Yoga.
• All natural vision teachers also highlight breathing as a key to greater vision. Marc Grossman, Meir Scfneider and Tom Quackenbush all put breathing first in their instructions for working toward better eyesight. Even skeptics of natural vision therapy attribute improvements in people's sight via these methods to the practives of breathing and relaxation.

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