These 6 ayurvedic practices using simple kitchen ingredients will rejuvenate tired, strained, overworked eyes.
Experiencing eye fatigue or strain from staring at a screen for hours? Our eyes are constantly stimulated by and absorbing visuals, overworked daily by constant exposure to high-energy visible light (HEV light), aka the blue light emitted from our electronic devices. This light affect our bodies in ways we don’t even realize: dry eyes, excessive brain stimulation, headaches, sleep disturbances, and more.
According to ayurveda, eyes are connected to the energy of the sun in terms of being a reflection of its brilliance and luster. Since the sun has the quality of heat, eyes are naturally dominated by Pitta (energy of fire and transformation). Hence, lifestyle factors such as late nights and HEV light exposure increase this “heating” quality within the eyes.
When we start to deviate from the circadian rhythm of nature, imbalances naturally start to occur within our mind and body. In particular, sense organs, such as the eyes, need to be taken care of because they are one of the major causes of mind-body imbalances. This happens through Atiyoga (excessive use), Hina yoga (underuse), or Mithya (incorrect use). Per the ancient holistic health system of ayurveda, to take care of Netra (eyes) is to balance the mind. As one of the oldest healthcare sciences, ayurveda serves to not only treat disease, but also to prevent it via a lifestyle in tune with the universe.
With overworked eyes, our minds can become anxious and stressed, leading to further energy imbalances within the body. In order to keep the eyes pacified when they are irritated and inflamed, cooling herbs and daily lifestyle practices are often used.
Incorporate these 6 simple practices to rejuvenate your eyes:
Cold Cow’s Milk Compress
Why: Its cold and heavy properties reduce the natural “heat” or inflammatory tendencies of the eyes.
How: Place soaked cotton pads (squeeze the excess) on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Use cold organic, whole cow’s milk for best results. Best for: at the end of a long day when your eyes are exhausted
Coriander Water Compress
Why: for its cold and detoxifying properties. Coriander can be found as a multipurpose herb, as well as a spice, which is mainly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. How: Boil 1 tsp. of coriander seeds in 1 cup of water. Once the water is cooled, remove the seeds. Splash the water on your eyes in the mornings and evenings. Prepare a new batch of coriander water daily. Or, for an easier way to incorporate coriander, take the green leaves and crush/blend them with a small amount of milk or cold water. Soak the substance on cotton pads and place them on your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Best for: when your eyes are irritated from hot summer days or with signs of allergies
Rose Water Spray
Why: Roses are cooling and relaxing, and rose water sprayed onto your eyes and face will naturally refresh them. How: Spray intermittently on your closed eyes throughout the day to feel peaceful. Or, for an ultracooling effect, mix a small amount of rose water with the cold cow’s milk and apply the mixture on closed eyes via soaked cotton eye pads. Best for: a quick pick-me-up—keep a bottle of organic, distilled rose water at your office desk.
Why: Ghee, or clarified butter, is not only beneficial internally, but externally as well. Like milk, ghee is cooling and full of Ojas, the substance that enhances your immunity and inner glow. It’s also a common ingredient in Kajal (kohl); however, it’s important to find an organic product to ensure safe results. Ghee is also known to reduce dark circles as well! How: To reduce dark circles, apply a small amount with your little finger near your lash line and undereye region. Or, to strengthen eyes, increase their glow, and enhance Sattva (energy of peace), use the ancient ayurvedic practice of Trataka. Sit/stand in a in comfortable position and stare at a ghee lamp flame without blinking for few minutes from at least a foot away, until you start tearing. Make sure the lamp is at eye level (to make one, take a wick; place on stand; pour warm ghee; and then light it). Then close your eyes and meditate on the lamp internally. While lengthy, doing this a few times in a week will improve your concentration and benefit your eyes. Best for: bedtime
Coconut Oil Foot Massage
Why: to revitalize your eyes overnight. According to ayurvedic texts, all five of the sense organs are connected with a particular motor organ, and, for the eyes, it is the feet. Specific energy points on the feet, when stimulated, strengthen your eyes. How: Rub your soles with warm coconut oil for eye rejuvenation as well as a relaxing, deep sleep. Best for: bedtime—it’s most beneficial if you can sleep by 10 pm to give your eyes enough rest.
Why: to keep your eye muscles strong, which thereby boosts circulation How: For an instant refresh, rub your hands together and bring your palms close to your eyelashes; blink for 10 seconds. Your eyes will feel instantly refreshed due to the release of heat from your palms! For another practice, slowly move your eyes in all directions, first clockwise, then counterclockwise. Best for: the end of the day, when we tend to accumulate stress around our eyebrows Tip: A great ayurvedic tip is to pinch the thicker part of your eyebrows with the thumb and the index finger to gently relax the Marma points (vital energy centers) located there. You can also use two fingers to softly press the temples on each side ( Apanga and Shankha Marma points) to help release tension.
Read more on balancing your five senses.