Many people use yoga as a form of meditation — to clear the mind. But practicing yoga is also incredibly beneficial for your body as a whole. It calls on your entire frame to work like a well-oiled machine, which allows you to identify both your strengths and your weaknesses. It helps to expose any deficiencies you may have by calling on your whole form to deliver your pose and maintain it, which requires complete control.
Christian Valeriani, owner of EvenFlow Yoga in Red Bank, explains, “In balancing poses on one foot, looking ahead is critical in that it keeps the skull aligned over the sacrum for a plumb line. Any downward energy, such as eyelids descending, which ultimately moves the vision to the floor, creates forward head position (FHP for short). In FHP, the SI joints tend to rotate, which creates imbalance. And, since energy finds the path of least resistance, the ‘stronger’ standing leg gets stronger, and the weaker gets weaker. The idea is to keep strength and flexibility in the front, back, and lateral planes of the body. And the body follows the eyes.”
According to Christian, your eyes hold the critical job of informing the body’s motion and position to create specific poses. If your eyesight is not up to par, you will feel it, and your form may suffer.
Interestingly, we have heard patient experiences that explain this phenomenon in an unexpected way. For example, Julius didn’t even realize the full extent of his balance issue until he underwent blepharoplasty (upper eyelid surgery) with Marina Glatman, MD. Following an in-depth consultation with Dr. Glatman, who addressed the droopiness of his upper eyelids, it was determined that he was a candidate for the procedure. After undergoing the procedure, Julius immediately noticed a positive difference in his balance and stability during his weekly yoga sessions. He didn’t realize until getting back to the gym that the excess tissue on his upper lids made it difficult to maintain balance during his workouts prior to surgery.
Ultimately, we should make more of an effort to recognize how much the deficiencies in our eyesight play a role in impacting our daily activities. If you are having any difficulties, don’t be afraid to investigate your options so you can work toward being a better participant in your life and what you love to do.
Christian Valeriani is a contributor to our Vision & Yoga blogs