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Exerc-eyes Dublin yoga instructor Lydia Sasse says eye yoga is remedy for lockdown 'Zoom eyes'

'People are much more concerned about wrinkles and squinting lines... eye yoga can help minimise appearance of fine lines'

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Lydia with Deirdre at a lesson.

Lydia with Deirdre at a lesson.

Lydia with Deirdre at a lesson.

SIixties specs symbol Paul McCartney is the latest celebrity to give eye yoga a lash.

The ex-Beatle has credited the simple daily practice with maintaining his perfect vision.

The exercises are also believed to ‘Help!’ those suffering from the dreaded ‘Zoom eyes’ associated with digital eye strain.

So I was first in line to give it a go after staring at a computer screen for the past year.

And Dublin yoga instructor Lydia Sasse said I’m not her only new pupil since lockdown.

“It’s been the biggest takeoff of any practice,” she says.

“I’ve been teaching it for years, but since lockdown it’s just gone absolutely bombastic because everyone’s staring at screens all day long.

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Lydia shows Deirdre the tricks of eye yoga.

Lydia shows Deirdre the tricks of eye yoga.

Lydia shows Deirdre the tricks of eye yoga.

 

“It’s everyone from 20 year olds right up to 80 year olds. It’s all walks of life.”

Facial yoga was first developed as part of the ancient Sukshma Vyayma tradition before being popularised by Indian yoga guru Dhirendra Brahmahari in the 20th century.

“Basically, it’s part of the yoga of micro-movement,” explains Lydia, who also teaches chair yoga and bed yoga.

“The idea is that you’re working on mastery over the fine motor muscles in the body.

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“At the moment, people are sitting in front of screens a lot so they’re getting eye strain, tension headaches, dry eyes, all this kind of stuff.

“If we’re only looking close [up], then the long-sighted muscles get really lazy, our side-to-side viewing gets lazy, our ability to track across the screen gets lazy, and as that happens things like our eye prescriptions get worse.

“We also get eye strain because we forget to blink so our eyes get really dry as well.

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Sir Paul McCartney (Ian West/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney (Ian West/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney (Ian West/PA)

 

“Eye yoga can help retrain those muscles, which can actually improve your prescription if you’re a glasses wearer.”

Singer McCartney told how he first learned about the exercises — including ‘palming’ to soothe irritated eyes — from a yogi during a trip to India in the late 2000s.

Chatting with daughter Mary McCartney on podcast Table Manners, the 79-year-old said: “[They] explained that your eyes are muscles whereas your ears aren’t, so you can’t exercise your ears. But your eyes, you can.

“I don’t know if it means that’s why I don’t need glasses when I’m reading a newspaper.

“It makes sense, you know? It’s a good idea.”

Blinking to help hydrate the eyes, nose tip gazing, to improve long-sightedness, and rotational viewing, to engage the corpus callosum are just a few more of the simple poses Lydia shows me to help boost my eye health and even brain power at home.

But I’m more focused on the claim that exercising your eyeballs — like Jennifer Aniston — also reduces wrinkles.

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Lydia Sasse teaches Deirdre Reynolds ‘eye yoga’ techniques.

Lydia Sasse teaches Deirdre Reynolds ‘eye yoga’ techniques.

Lydia Sasse teaches Deirdre Reynolds ‘eye yoga’ techniques.

 

“It’s much more than just moving the eyes around,” says Lydia, who’s been teaching eye yoga here for the past 12 years. “It’s also improving the way that the brain communicates with the rest of the body, which impacts memory, balance, coordination, mood, everything.

“But I’m also seeing a lot more people, both women and men, coming for beautifying reasons. People are much more concerned about wrinkles and squinting ‘number 11’ lines because, with mask-wearing, the eyes are now the most visible part of the body.

“Eye yoga can look at giving you poses that can help to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as identifying the stress patterns that you hold in the face so you can then change the way that you move and use your face.”

Dark circles and puffiness are also banished by circulation-boosting eye yoga, according to Lydia, whose one-to-one eye yoga sessions cost €85, with just two minutes a day enough to keep peepers at their prime.

“It’s a less is more type thing because the muscles are so small you can do as much damage by overdoing the exercise as not doing it at all,” she adds.

“Once you’ve learned the exercises, ultimately it’s free.

“It’s just about adding it into your self-care routine like cleansing, toning and moisturising.”

  • See @yogawithlydia for more information

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