Many yoga movements, postures, and asanas are aimed at improving the health of specific internal organs. The likes of Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana) and Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasna) help the liver while Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) and Cobra (Bhujangasana) focus on opening up the heart. Hare Pose (Shasankasana) works the lungs while a number of twists can aid issues with the large intestine.
…But did you know there are yoga movements that you can do for your eyes? Your ears? Your nose? And even your toes?! And in doing them daily you can they improve your health and your yoga practice?
Whether you’re shortsighted or longsighted, studies have shown that eye yoga can naturally improve your eyesight over time if done regularly.
Sitting in a comfortable position, relax your face/neck and remove glasses if any.
Palming: eyes closed, rub the palms of your hands together until they are hot. Once they are hot gently place them onto your eyes. Feel the soothing effects of the energy from your hands being absorbed by your eyes. When the heat has been absorbed, keep the eyes closed and rub palms together again and repeat 3 times.
Blinking: eyes open, blink as fast as you can x10 and then close eyes for 20 seconds. This is one round. Do 5 rounds.
Rotating: eyes open, head and neck straight/still, slowly move your eyes from the top right corner to the bottom right corner, to the top left corner, to the bottom left corner and hold for a couple of seconds each time you reach one of the corners. Slowly move into the flow of creating the infinity symbol with your eye rotation.
Nose Tip Gazing: eyes open, slowly bring your eyes up as if they are trying to look at the centre of your eyebrows. You may feel a bit of a strain but that’s ok. Hold position for a few seconds and slowly move the eyes down to try view the tip of the nose. You may also feel a strain here but don’t worry (unless it’s hurting you, if it is hurting you then come out of the movement gently and relax). Hold for a few seconds. This is one round. Do 5 rounds.
A number of ear problems such as tinnitus and Meniere’s disease are aggravated by stress. However, yoga helps to calm the nervous system and thus reducing the symptoms such as ringing in the ears and even vertigo.
Tree Pose (Vrkasana): helps to restores the body’s inner balance that can help people who suffer with inner ear problems.
Inverted Plow Pose (Halasana): can help to relieve ear pressure by clearing the sinuses.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Also releases pressure from the ears by draining the sinuses.
Flaring: Head, neck and face still, quickly flare your nostrils x10 and the rest for 20 seconds. This is one round. Do 5 rounds.
Wriggling: Head, neck and face still, use the muscles in your nose to subtly move it up and down. Do bursts of x10 and rest for 20 seconds. After that, and with much practice, you can move one side at a time (left, right, left, right) so it looks like you’re wriggling your nose like Samantha in the TV show Bewitched!
Nose Cleansing: (Neti) Mix lukewarm with a teaspoon of salt in a pot (it’s useful if you have a neti pot) Standing over a sink, hold the pot in one hand and place the spout against a nostril so that it fits tightly. As you lean forward relax and breathe in through the mouth, the slowly turn your head to one side and the water will now flow by itself in through one nostril and out of the other. When half the pot is used, repeat for other nostril. Don’t forget to blow out any remaining water or mucus in between switching nostrils. To dry your nose bend forward and let your head hang down loosely and any remaining water will drip out. Turning your head from side to side gently blow so that all excess water comes out. Repeat until nose is dry.
Nasal Congestion: Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana) offer great relief for releasing any tension created from sinus problems.
Big toe push-ups are great for strengthening the feet, ankles, knees and legs while also working on your balance. And they sound a lot easier than they actually are!
Standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) put your focus into your right big toe and concentrate on moving it up and down without moving any other part of your body x10.
Now try moving that focus into your baby toe up and down without moving any other part of your body x10.
Alternate between lifting big tow, lowering baby toe, lifting baby toe, lowering big toe (so it becomes a flowing movement) x10.
Note: If you are unable to isolate your baby toe lift then treat your other four toes like one toe and do it that way instead.
Now try those movements on the other foot too!