Healing Yoga for the Hair and Eyes with Deborah Devine



A hundred years ago, if we were lucky, we may have read 50 books throughout our lifetime. Today, we are processing the equivalent of 174 newspapers every day, according to some research from University of Southern California researcher Martin Hilbert. Our eyes muscles are the hardest working muscles in the body, and just think about the ramifications of this onslaught of information on the eyes, especially with the advent of e-readers, smartphones and tablets.

For the most part, we are using our eyes to look forward and closely, without blinking as often as we should. So the eyes are dry and some of the muscles of the eyes are overworked and others are under utilized. Think about the last time you found yourself lost in time as you browsed through thousands of images on Pinterest!

Add this to the tension we may be experiencing in the back of the head and neck, as we bring our heads forward to better connect with the images we are looking at. This creates an enormous amount of strain in the back of the head, which coincidentally, is the general area where visual processing occurs (visual cortex). This tension travels up the scalp, causing our blood and lymph to stagnate.

As we move into our Zoomer years, our hormones are shifting and can also create changes in our hair texture, volume and colour.

How Yoga Helps:

-Energetically, a key reason for hair loss and vision impairment is stress. A gentle and restorative Yoga practice is an excellent way to change our internal chemistry and relax, by turning on the parasympathetic nervous system and initiating the rest and digest functions of the body.

-The brain, scalp and eyes are very vascular, so when we enjoy calming inversions in our asana practice, the rest and digest responses of the body bring more blood and lymph from the outer extremities back into the core, the upper neck and head. Restorative practices are excellent solutions for helping manage not only our sight, but also our crowning glory!

Inversions change our relationship with gravity and allow fresh blood, oxygen, lymphatic fluid and prana to penetrate all of the cells in this area. Inversions are excellent for improving circulation.

-The third Chakra is a key focus area for eye health, According to Ayurveda, the Indian tradition and study of the Science of Health, the sun rules the eyes, so we use the practice to balance the energy of the solar plexus, the Manipura Chakra, otherwise known as the City of Fiery Gems. The sense organ associated with this chakra is the sense of sight. This is the seat of fiery processes of digestion and we may feel fiery emotions here, so we use the practice to maintain a strong fire, and to keep the fire under control.

-Pranayama practices (breath practices) overall are excellent, but for eyes and hair, Kapala Bhati (Scull Shining Breath) is the most effective. Brahmari, (Bumblebee Breath) is also a great practice because it’s very quieting for the eyes and the mind.

-Other healthy yogic practices such as palming the eyes, Trataka (looking at a flickering candle until the eyes water and release), and eye circling help bring fresh energy to the eyes and our vision is refreshed.

-Meditation is an excellent way to release stress and calm and refresh the heart, mind, body and soul. All systems of the body, including eyesight, improve with this practice.

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Other Ideas for Eyes:

A New Perspective: Cultivate the idea of the origin of sight coming from the back of the scull – and allow images to come to us, instead of reaching out with our eyes – this helps expand our field of vision and resting some of the overworked muscles.

Eye Exercises: As fighter pilots receive eye training for the demands of their role, so can we train our eyes to better functioning. An interesting area to explore is the field of behavioural optometry. Aldous Huxley wrote a book called “The Art of Seeing” that shares the miraculous recovery of his eye-sight. He speaks at length about the role of relaxation in sight and seeing clearly. Behavioural optometry is a form of therapy that provides a whole range of exercises and work for the eyes in addition to purposeful resting. Google a practitioner in your area to learn more about it.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”: Invest in an eye dropper and put some Castor oil in and around the eyes – one drop in each eye before bed lubricates the eyes and helps thicken and lengthen eyelashes too! A spritz or a few drops of pure rosewater into each eye can help refresh and soothe the eyes and is a wonderful health practice. Fresh aloe vera gel in and around the eyes can also be very cooling.

Nutrition: Research eye and hair friendly superfoods and try new taste sensations. Give yourself an opportunity to find new favourite foods and expand the horizons of your palate by seeking out vegan and vegetarian cuisine!

In general, colourful plant based foods that are loaded with beta carotene are great for the eyes and eating a lot of cooling moist foods like cucumbers or avocados also helps the eyes.

Other Ideas for Hair:

Castor oil scalp massage: Seek out an Indian head massage and learn about the marma points, or vital energy points as described in ancient Ayurvedic texts.

Nutrition: Create a new group of go-to foods rich in oils and plant based protens.   Check your iron levels and add a supplement if your count is low.

Even if none of these practices seem to be affecting your hair, at the very least you will be more relaxed about your situation, perhaps a bit more detached from identifying with something as impermanent as hair! Hopefully you will be cultivating gratitude for the things that matter, the things that spark the light of happiness in your eyes and the warmth of the heart in your smile.

We look to the yogic concept of Ahimsa, the Sanskrit work translated literally as non-violence. As we dig deeper into the meaning of the word, we understand it more as loving-kindness! So lets look at all aspects of our selves with compassion and kindness, and humour!

They aren’t just grey hairs, it’s that we’re so fabulous that even our hair sparkles!

-Deborah Devine

Healing Yoga

*Healing Yoga provides insight meant to help you in improving your health and overall wellbeing. However, the information presented above is offered for informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for the judgment of a medical professional, or consultation with qualified practitioners.
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