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Eyeball Yoga

"The eyes are the window to the soul," has always been one of my favorite quotes. However, these days, when my eyes are red, tired and more often than not worn out - partially due to my penchant for staring endlessly into the depths of my computer screen, iPhone, and TV - I'm not sure I want anyone looking into that window.

So I was really thrilled to have a chance to catch up with Manu Dawson the manager of the Integral Yoga Natural Apothecary, who will be teaching Eye Heatlh - Save Your Vision, or what I like to call “eyeball yoga” on Saturday, March 23, at the Integral Yoga Institute. Much of my excitement stemmed from the possibility that there was another future for my eyes, other than the one I've been envisioning – one where I'm covertly struggling to read the fine print and riding a steady downhill slide to reading glasses.

It turns out there are some very real and hands on ways for me to get my eyeballs back into shape, so that I can stop that downhill slide, and maybe reverse it. Using supplements that target the eyes, along with eye health-supporting yoga poses and yogic eye movements, are all part of my new RX for eye health. After our chat I decided to head out to the health food store to get a supplement for my eyes made up of some major players in eye health - Lutein, Bilberry, and Carotenoids. I've actually noticed a difference in how my eyes feel since starting this new regime.

That’s not all I discovered, there may well be some help in this workshop for more extreme issues, like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. While it’s easier to prevent, and halt the progression of eye issues, reversing them may be possible – hope indeed. If you've been to the Apothecary at Integral you may already be familiar with Manu, who when you see him you just know that he has the information you want.

He arrived at IYI decades ago after becoming a devotee of Swami Satchidananda. Since those early years Manu has immersed himself in studying health, medicine and wellness. On any given week you can find him working with people looking to get healthier, leading workshops or fielding questions at IYI's apothecary.

Manu's approach is definitely based in using natural methods such as supplementation and yoga, but during our talk and in the upcoming workshop, he backs up his findings and suggestions with actual research and studies from a wide range of sources including Pub Med, and Life Extention Magazine; while also tossing in some interesting tidbits of nutritional history. Did you know that during World War II the US used Bilberry to increase the night vision of pilots?

Popping vitamins isn’t the only “key,” eating right is important too. “Supplementation will have a greater impact along with a healthy diet high in the antioxidants,” he says. Many of the vitamins and minerals our eyes need can be found in the foods we eat – like blueberries, blackberries, kale, spinach and of course those night vision boosting Bilberries.

There are also many factors in the environment that can affect our eyes. These factors range from pollution to being exposed to excess sunlight. However there's hope here too- “fortunately our antioxidant defense system is set up with the genetic potential to protect our eyes, all we need to do is to activate this system through the intake of the eye healthy nutrients that nature has provided” he says.

The Eye Health Save Your Vision workshop is a little bit yoga – you can use Cobra Pose and Downward Facing Dog, along with eye movements to increase eye health and exercise you brain and a lot about eating right and using different nutritional therapies to nourish your eyes. If your worried about your eye health or just interested in making your vision stronger check out this workshop.

Illustration by Sharon Watts

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