Qigong and Seeing
Until a few years ago I always had superb eyesight. The notion of wearing corrective glasses was something I never thought of—it was something other people needed to do, but not me. I knew that my eyesight would someday diminish, but that was in a vague and distant future. About three years ago I gave in to my increasing difficulty with reading clearly. I bought a few pairs of cheap reading glasses. Reading, to me, is almost as important as eating. In fact it is my necessary nourishment, the food for my mind, memory, intellect, understanding, entertainment, and encouragement. It is my main path to learning and self-education. In that way, the use of reading glasses has sustained me for the last 3 years.
Glasses in Middle Age
Glasses are nothing unusual for someone of my age, now fully into middle age. However there is another side to this story. For many years I collected and read books and notes about methods for strengthening one’s eyesight. The eyes, like most any other part of one’s body, can be exercised, educated, improved, or maintained in health. There are many sets of exercises developed by different cultures, different physicians, different teachers. There are many examples of people who did improve their eyesight—often dramatically—with such exercises. I know people who formerly wore glasses who do not anymore. One of them wore them from boyhood on. Now about sixty years of age, he was in his thirties when someone lent him a vinyl record album of eye exercise. He listened to the album; did the exercises; and put down his glasses for good.
I’ve known about these exercises, but haven’t much applied myself with them. I rarely practiced them. There were always other priorities in my Qigong practices. Finally I have decided to bring eyesight work up a few notches. For the rest of the year (at least) I will be leading people in Eye Qigong as a part my Simple Taiji classes.
Brightening Your Eyesight
The following Qigong exercise can improve your vision and aid in healing any eye condition you may have. By energetically and consciously connecting to your organs of sight; by creating more Qi circulation; and by enlivening the nerves, you can speed up the healing process of your eyesight.
I first gleaned this excellent exercise from an article on Lotus Qigong by Dianna Sun and Bingkun Hu from the June/July, 1996, issue of Kung Fu magazine. I have updated and enhanced the exercise to express my own understanding of Qi and self-healing. Several people I have taught this to have had noticeable improvements in some serious eye conditions.
1. Charge Palms and Connect to the Light
Rub your palms together until they are warm and energized. Place these Qi-charged palms together in a prayer position directly above your head, with your fingers pointing up. Imagine you are connecting to heavenly light or starlight—the light of seeing. Now draw your hands down to the front of your upper face, staying connected to the light of the stars. Separate the hands and place them two or three inches in front of the eyes. Feel the center of each palm radiating Qi and Light to its respective eye (right palm to right eye, left to left).
2. Palms in Clockwise Circles
Move your palms in small clockwise circles in front of the eyes, nine times. Both palms move in the same direction at the same time; they are in synchrony. Clockwise is down to the left. The palms circle in about 6 inches of circumference.
The eyes are open and relaxed. Do not follow the palms with the eyes, rather receive the circling energies of the hands. As you circle, feel the Qi and healing warmth of the hands penetrate the eyes, eye muscles, eye fluids, ocular nerves, even to the back of your brain (occipital lobe.) These circling motions will get stagnant energy in your eyes recirculating and refreshing. Stagnation leads to disease; motion leads to healing.
3. Palms in Counterclockwise Circles
Move your palms in nine small counterclockwise circles in front of the eyes. As you hold your hands in front of your eyes, be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows heavy—basic practices of good Qigong. Also, keep breathing with ease into your lower belly. Belly breathing helps keep the eyes, neck, head and everything relaxed and flowing.
4. Palms Forward and Back
Move your palms forward and back in front of the eyes, going out 10 to 12 inches and then back to the starting spot of a couple of inches from the eyes. Feel like you are stretching Qi from your eyes, then pressing it back in. The energy connection between your palms and your eyes continues throughout the movements. This refines and builds the Qi by a wave-like kneading of the Qi. Do this nine times also.
5. Rest and Re-center
Lower your hands to your Lower Dantian (lower abdomen) and rest for a breath or two there. Forget your eyes and feel your Lower Dantian.
Repeat the entire sequence two more times.
Frequency of Practice
For vision health maintenance, practice this simple set once a day.
For helping with active vision problems, practice it several times a day. The biggest key is to feel the sense of movement in the eyes from the hand motions. If you feel it, you are getting benefits from it. What you feel you can heal. Your eyes will begin to self-heal because you are changing stuckness into dynamic motion.
Make a Study of It
There are many more exercises and principles for good and longstanding eyesight in Qigong and in many other bodies of knowledge. The above set is a beneficial one, but only one of many. If improving your eyesight naturally intrigues you, there are many resources available in print and on the web to learn more.