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Can yoga hurt my eyes?

This week, a yogi asked my opinion on some yoga exercises that she learned in India. Most of what she described and what I could find on the internet appears safe for the eyes. Blinking exercises and exercises involving looking around in different directions should not cause permanent damage to your eyes. One exercise even includes making a high pitch noise. I don’t see any problem there either.

There was one exercise that gave me pause: the yogi described a ritual performed only at sunrise that involved making a “window” with your two hands lifted in front of the face and then viewing the sunrise directly through that. I told her that looking at the sun directly could permanently damage the retina and that she probably should only attempt this type of exercise prior to the sun actually breaking above the horizon during sunrise.

If you have glaucoma, you may want to discuss your yoga activities with your ophthalmologist. Some of the head down positions in yoga can temporarily increase the pressure inside your eye and can potentially damage your optic nerve and cause permanent vision loss.


Please feel free to leave any comments or questions.



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This entry was posted on August 5, 2012 by in The Eye and tagged , , , .

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