A Few Minutes to Zen with Rikki Alrutz


During one of my first trips to India, my Great-Aunt said we were to begin this latest part of our yoga journey with a course on ‘Yoga for the Eyes.’  I wasn’t sure what she meant and, honestly, didn’t fully understand her words until after a few months of practicing the techniques we learned.  When people age, many parts of our bodies lose strength, and our eyes are no exception.  In fact, numerous eye problems such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) result from a loss of tone, strength, and flexibility around and in our eyes.  Further, many eye problems are related to the malfunctioning of the ocular muscles caused by chronic mental and emotional tensions, which indicates another reason yoga can be so helpful in relieving eye pain and may even aid us in regaining the visual acuity of our younger days.  

Here are four of my favorite exercises that can really benefit your eyes.  Try performing this series for a few moments every day, and your eyes will see a difference in just a few months:

  1. Sitting comfortably or lying down, with eyes open, look straight up and pause, then look straight down and pause.  Repeat 3-5 times.

  2. Next, rub your hands together until they become warm; cup your hands and place each one around your closed eyes, making sure not to touch your eyelids. Breathe deeply and stay here until the sense of warmth has left your hands.  This technique is most often called “Palming.”

  3. Open your eyes and look over to the left and pause, then look to the right and pause.  Repeat 3-5 times.

  4. Repeat Palming of your eyes.

  5. Open your eyes and make big circles with them, inhale for half the circle, and exhale for half the circle.  Circle 3 times in one direction and 3 times in the other direction.

  6. Repeat Palming of your eyes, staying still in the dark and relaxing your eyes as long as you need.

​As with any new program, consult your doctor before performing these exercises.  Enjoy your journey to improved sight.

About the contributor…

Rikki has over 15 years of experience in the Health and Fitness industries.  Currently, she is the Director of Yoga and Pilates at Middlesex Hospital P&BC in CT.  Rikki works as a Movement Therapist, Doula, Yoga and Pilates teacher, Tennis coach, and is a NASM weight-loss specialist.  Rikki developed her own trademarked program, Aerobic-lates®, which is one of the fastest growing fitness classes in the country.