07 Oct Vision & Yoga #1: Yoga and Hand-Eye Coordination
Overall health and dexterity can improve daily lifestyle–from navigating your home to exercising and everything in-between.
As we age, we may notice that some tasks become more difficult, especially related to Hand-Eye coordination.
What is Hand-Eye coordination? According to Jim Brown, PhD, it is the ability to perform activities that require simultaneous use of the hands and eyes. With a decline in hand-eye coordination, the brain has trouble communicating efficiently when telling the hands to carry out a movement.
Tasks affected by a decline or loss of Hand-Eye-Coordination:
- Inserting a key into a lock
- Buttoning a shirt or blouse
- Tying a tie
- Striking keys on a cellphone
- Reaching for an object (without knocking over another object in the process)
- Playing a sport
The good news is that we can work against this decline by participating in activities, such as yoga, that engage and actually look to improve these specific functions. Yoga can play a huge part in developing your personal sense of hand-eye coordination. According to Christian Valeriani, owner of EvenFlow Yoga based in Red Bank, “Yoga has many benefits which include stress management, mindfulness, balance and physical flexibility and strength.” Valeriani goes on to explain, “When a practitioner performs unilateral poses, or poses on one side, and then alternates sides, the hemispheres of the brain become more equanimeous. Many poses also require the activation of the extremities like fingers and toes. In turn, neurotransmission, or brain communication to the body, is refined, which positively affects physical movement and sensory acuity. Additionally, practitioners also enhance proprioception, or the sixth sense, which governs how one ‘holds’ themselves in space. Enhancing proprioception is critical as we age. For example, if one has vision issues, the way the world is perceived is slightly skewed and the ‘language’ between the brain and eyes can be confusing. Consequently, the stronger eye compensates and ultimately bears the load.”
In this respect yoga builds the body up. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Valeriani aptly puts this concept into perspective, “So yoga, with its various movements and orientations to gravity, stimulate and challenge the senses to delay deterioration. Even simply sitting in a chair and moving the eyeballs in different directions is Yoga! The net effect is maintaining functionality of tasks such as tying knots, driving, writing, etc. Simply activating mindfulness to any movement keeps the brain alive and laser sharp, which can only improve your relationship to yourself and the world around you.”