The delicate skin of our eyes is particularly vulnerable to changes as we age. Puffiness, dark circles, and crows’ feet are common issues in the eye area.
It is also somewhere many of us hold a lot of stress and tension. When you are anxious or worried, you might find you draw your brows in, causing those number 11 lines that appear between your eyebrows.
Now, I’m not against lines and wrinkles. They are a natural part of ageing. There are plenty of lines on our faces that appear because of happiness and joy – no one would want to be without these signs of a life well-lived.
But we also don’t want to hold onto stress and worry in our faces and eyes. There’s such a strong link between the muscles of our faces and our emotions. Taking some time to release tension and relax our eyes can also help us to feel calmer and more in control.
Of course, life is increasingly digital and sitting for long hours in front of a screen is hard on our eyes. So, another aim of eye yoga is to strengthen our eye muscles and soothe eye strain.
Today, I’m going to take you through some eye yoga techniques and show how these can help to improve the health and appearance of your eyes.
You can do these all together as one sequence – it should take around ten to fifteen minutes in total. You might, for example, make it part of your morning skincare routine. But if all you have is a couple of minutes, you can also use these techniques on their own at any point throughout the day.
Before You Start
With any face yoga or facial massage, it is important to have clean hands, so make sure you wash yours before you start.
If you have time, I suggest doing this eye yoga routine with a clean face. You can apply a little serum or eye cream around the eye area to help your fingers glide over your skin more easily. It also helps the product to absorb more deeply into your skin.
I use my Fusion by Danielle Collins serum. It is deeply moisturising and non-greasy but takes a little longer to absorb than many serums, making it a perfect choice for face and eye yoga.
Don’t worry if you are already wearing makeup though. You can still do these techniques whenever you feel the need. Just make sure your hands are clean first.
1. Eye Area Massage
For the first move, take your ring finger just underneath your eyebrow, starting near your nose.
Gently smooth your finger across under the ridge of your brow, down, under the eye, and back up again. Continue to make these circles around the eye area for up to a minute.
If it feels too awkward using your ring finger, you could use your index finger instead. But one of the reasons I suggest using the ring finger is that the skin around our eyes is very thin and delicate. We don’t want to drag at it.
Since we tend to be less dexterous with our ring fingers, you’ll find you naturally use lighter pressure. If you are using your index finger instead, just make sure to stay very gentle with this move.
Straight away, you’ll notice how soothing this simple movement is. It is beautiful for helping us to relax the muscles in the eye area.
It also helps to encourage lymphatic drainage, your body’s natural mechanism for removing toxins. This makes it a wonderful move to do first thing in the morning to reduce puffiness and dark circles. You could even do this before you get out of bed to rejuvenate your eyes.
2. Tap Around the Eyes
For this next move, we are switching to our index fingers and using them to tap quickly all around both eyes. Continue moving around your eyes for about a minute.
Like the previous technique, this feels very relaxing and is good for releasing tension and stress. It gets the circulation working too, bringing fresh blood to the skin cells around your eye area.
The tapping also stimulates the acupressure points around your eyes. These points help with eye strain and headaches.
If you’ve had a stressful day, this is a lovely technique to help you relax and let go of any tension you are holding in your eyes and upper face.
3. Acupressure Point
There’s an acupressure point at the inner corner of our eyes, where the tear ducts are. With your index fingers, press gently on this point.
Keep working intuitively here, choosing a pressure that feels right to you. Deepen your breathing at the same time, concentrating on a long inhale and exhale.
After a few seconds, you can start to massage the acupressure point by moving your fingers in a circular movement. Go one way and then the other.
This acupressure point is good for insomnia, as well as for relieving eye strain. You might do it in bed before you go to sleep, or after a long day in front of a screen.
It is also a good point to stimulate when you are experiencing blocked sinuses, which can often lead to puffy and watering eyes. If you are struggling with sinus pain, you might follow the circular movement by taking your thumbs under your eyebrow ridge, starting near your nose and moving outwards.
Another helpful acupressure point when you have sinus pain is the one at the corner of your nostrils. Use your index fingers to press on those points and follow this with the same circular massage. Finally, stroke your fingers up from the nostrils, following under your cheekbones.
4. Eye Muscles
The first few techniques are fantastic for releasing tension and relieving eye strain. These next few aim to strengthen the muscles of the eyes themselves.
For the first, place your hands on your forehead, palms down. You are going to use them to help you keep your forehead still.
We often over-express in the forehead area, moving the muscles here instead of the muscles of the eyes. This can result in horizontal lines. But we can retrain ourselves to use our eye muscles instead, with a little practice.
Keeping your forehead as still as you can, use your eyes to look up and then down. Keep repeating this for around a minute, aiming for a smooth, continuous movement. Don’t forget to breathe deeply at the same time.
After a minute, switch to looking from side to side. Then you can finish by moving your eyes as if you were looking at every number on a clock face.
Taking a deep breath in, open your eyes as wide as you can. As you exhale, close your eyes and concentrate on releasing any tension in your eye area.
When you are ready, open your eyes again.
5. Eyes and Mouth
This next technique strengthens the muscles below your eyes, while also working the muscles around your mouth.
Make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth, wrapping your lips around your teeth. Place the tips of your index fingers beneath your eyes, close to your nose. Move your eyes to look up, and then flutter your upper eyelids.
Continue for 30 seconds to a minute. You’ll be surprised by what hard work this is! Like any exercise, it gets easier as your muscles grow stronger.
6. Mini ‘V’
The final move I’m going to describe today works the muscles in your upper eyelid. It helps to lift and tighten the skin around your eyes, reducing the appearance of crows’ feet.
Place your middle finger by the inner corner of your eye and your index finger on the outer edge, forming a ‘V’ shape. Look up slightly and squint your eyes, so they are half-closed. Everything will go blurry.
You should start to feel a small pulse in the muscle under your index finger. Once you feel it, hold the squint for 3 seconds and then release. Repeat the move, tensing and relaxing for up to a minute.
Keep your fingers in place but close your eyes completely this time. Feel for that same little shake where your index finger is. Hold for ten seconds, and then release. Repeat the move 3 to 6 times.
As you work through these techniques, you’ll see how eye yoga moves like these can help to strengthen and rejuvenate your eyes and lift the skin around them.
Not only does this help to reduce lines and wrinkles, but it also relieves eye strain and releases tension from your eye area. They are such simple techniques, but they make a real difference to the health and appearance of your eyes.