Many of us are skeptical people. We scrutinize claims. We respect science. So, when I first heard about laughing yoga, I thought that was a joke in itself. Why would people force themselves to laugh in an attempt to feel better? But as you might have guessed, on a day when I had become a grumpy Grinch, I made myself (and my husband) laugh… At first, it felt super fake. But after a minute of enforced “spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body,” we were genuinely laughing out loud. Turns out, laughing is contagious and its side effects include, but are not limited to, the release of endorphins which, in return, will cause a positive mood.
Recently, I came across another yoga technique, so-called “eye yoga,” presented on Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s publication, which has controversially promoted alternative wellness techniques. I usually take everything with a grain of salt. If it’s sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, even better. I assess if certain methods, products or practices seem legit and only then do I think about experimenting on myself. Reviews are a great resource, too.
When I started watching a video about eye yoga on Goop, I felt a sense of trust towards yoga instructor Koya Webb and followed the steps she taught for eye relaxation. Koya is also a founder of Get Loved Up, a yogi community that offers yoga training/certifications in this field, different yoga events, and self-love practices, not to mention tons of vegan recipes.
As Koya points out herself, we are constantly glued to our smartphones, rushing to check notifications as if our lives depend on them. When really, they’re usually getting in the way of our lives! Being obsessed with screens, we increase the amount of blue light we’re exposed to. I told you here before that I had eye strain after working on the computer all day long, day after day. I was searching for blue light-blocking glasses, which might actually help with eye strain. But why didn’t I try eye yoga first?
Webb starts her own usual yoga routine with her favorite part – the eye yoga. All you need to do is gently close your eyes. Feels relaxing already, huh? Look down, all the way down, as far as you can. Then right, then up, then left, all the way left, as far as you can, Koya instructs. Then down again.
Then we reverse the order and repeat the exercise. Try to release all tension. Koya will walk you through breathing techniques, too, if you check out the video.
I chose to put a pause on my skepticism and go with the flow. I remember my first yoga class and the instructor saying: “Feel stress and anxiety leaving your body…” And I thought to myself: how on Earth am I supposed to accomplish that? Aren’t you here to teach me that? Seriously, what am I paying you for? Oh wait I’m not paying you? It’s a free class, being offered just because you’re a spiritual person? Oh my bad, my bad, let me close my eyes and pretend this isn’t happening and maybe do some eye yoga while they’re shut…
Anyway, to make eye yoga work for you, let go of all the baggage you’ve accumulated. Breathing (deep inhale and exhale, making “aaaahhhh” noises) will help you here. As Melissa Okabe, a yoga instructor based in Los Angeles, told Elite Daily, “[The noises] all start with a full, large breath in, and the noises are made on the exhalations. This is important because as the focus draws to the exhale, it encourages release — release of anxiety, toxins, emotional baggage, stress, etc.”
Again, not sure about the “toxins,” you guys… but this noisy breathing does help to get rid of anxious feelings. Another important thing here is also massaging your eyes to release tension and relieve tiredness.
Yep, you read that right. You can massage your eyes and surrounding muscles gently with your fingertips, left and right. Koya Webb will walk you through this routine like a pro. And even her soft voice will make you more relaxed, too.
Try laughing yoga, try eye yoga. If it works for you — perfect! If it doesn’t, well… I didn’t pay for that yoga class, you didn’t pay for this blogpost, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s already rich. So it is what it is, I guess.