Just like any muscle, your eyes need a good workout, and we’re not talking about screen time. So of course, we launched Eye Yoga on Out The Box. A practice as old as yoga philosophy itself, this ancient tradition uses a flickering flame, face massages and enlightening affirmations to teach us to focus and creates a heightened sense of calm. And who better to ask to try it out for herself, than our resident blogger Kat..?
Eye Yoga is one of the latest creative offerings from Gymbox Out The Box and I’ll admit, the name confused me at first. I wasn’t sure what to expect: would the class involve intense winking? Or maybe even extreme eye rolling?! I was pretty sure I needed no practice at the latter.
Thankfully, it turns out Eye Yoga involves none of these things. The four part-series is available on demand and has been designed to provide relief from eye strain, help tired eyes, promote better eye health and aid sleep. All four classes are meditation-like in style and promote a sense of calm, something which has been missing from my life now that things have gotten busier again. I was looking forward to spending 25 minutes focusing on just myself.
As a part-time insomniac, I decided to try out the Eye Yoga class for better sleep. This class is centred around trataka meditation, commonly referred to as candle gazing, and does actually involve a candle. At the start of the class, Jess Parkison described how we should set ourselves up, and I paused the video to hunt for a nice lavender-scented number. The candle had to be set up at eye level, so I balanced it on the radiator and sat in front of it on a cushion. While potentially not the safest option, it did the job. After turning my lights off, I was ready to begin.
Jess began the class with breathing exercises to help us relax into the practice, before asking us to bring awareness to our ‘third eye’ or chakra. Jess explained how this area is associated with intuition and clear-sightedness and can impact the eyes. I’m not a spiritual person but I know I still benefit from this type of meditative practice, so I decided to go with the flow.
We then moved into the candle gazing practice itself. This basically involves opening your eyes and staring at the candle, before closing your eyes and focusing on your ‘third eye’ (or, if you’re like me, a vague point in the centre of your forehead.) The idea is then to try and picture the candle in your mind and focus on that.
As we began the practice, I quickly realised how hard it is to stare at a candle without blinking. My eyes were watering almost immediately. However, Jess assured me that this was pretty normal for anyone not used to the practice and that our eyes will strengthen over time. As I adjusted to the light, I turned my attention to quietening my brain and focusing on the flame in front of me.
For the rest of the class, Jess guided us through the candle gazing practice. She did a great job at bringing my thoughts back to the present when they wandered off (which was often), and I was pleased to recognise that nearing the end of the class, my focus was definitely improving. We ended with a savasana, or corpse pose, which is when I realised I was dangerously close to passing out on the floor. As the video ended, I dragged myself up and into bed before falling into the deepest sleep I’ve had in a long time.
If you’re like me and have a brain that runs at a million miles a minute, I would definitely recommend taking this class. Whether it’s completely to thank for my good night's sleep or not I can’t say, but I know it helped me relax and switch off my brain. It was also good to spend some quality time on my eyes, which are put to the test daily at work and at home as I scroll through social media. I’ll be making this a part of my weekly routine and am keen to see how the other classes in the series benefit both my mental and physical health.
Follow Kat on Instagram here.