This two-room clinic in Satya Nagar locality of Bhubaneswar resembles a play school at sixes and sevens—people from all age groups engrossed in bizarre activities. There’s a little girl staring hard at a ball-shaped object, there are youths donning pirate masks with funny antics.
Dr Gourishankar Goswami, Naturopath at the Yoga For Eyes clinic, says they are his patients performing yoga—only this one is for eyes. “They are diagnosed with vision problems. Some have glaucoma, some have cataract, some come with colour blindness and many with myopia and presbyopia. A few are squint-eyed,” he says.Many patients at the clinic acknowledge that they have begun to feel the change.
A 45-year-old man from Angul in Odisha had come to the clinic with 98 per cent of his vision blocked. Even after several allopathic treatments and a surgery, he failed to regain his sight, and Yoga for Eyes was his last-ditch attempt. Post two months of regular exercise for an hour each, his vision was restored to normal.
“I’m not in the business of boosting eye power, I’m here to correct vision,” says Dr Goswami. Eye yoga exercises have existed for centuries and helped people regain their natural vision. Performed routinely according to the guidance of a naturopath, the exercises/asanas can correct visual defects, he claims.
Though the ancient asanas can cure several types of eye disorders, only a handful of qualified naturopaths have shouldered the responsibility to take it to the public domain. There are seven such clinics across the country. Apart from Dr Goswami’s clinic, there are similar ones in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Chennai, Surat, Mumbai and Puducherry.
Many vision problems stem from the gradual loss of flexibility of eye muscles or reduction in blood flow to the nerves, which, over time, lose the ability to focus on different distances. “People with such defects opt for spectacles or surgeries to correct their vision. Only a few are aware of the effects yoga has on the eyes,” Dr Goswami says.
It’s not just the stretching and contracting of muscles that brings in significant improvement in restoration of vision, but also the relaxation of stressed and dry eyes. There are 60-odd exercises, some of which are taught at the clinic. Each session begins with relaxation of the body and eyes, followed by a set of exercises customary to each patient’s problem. The activities include palming, ball games, pen exercise, concentrating on a candle flame and the ‘om’ symbol, colour pallete, dial chart, cat exercise, boom exercise and pendulum exercise.
Dr Goswami says vision correction is quicker in children. “This is because their nerves are still supple. For adults, it takes a little longer. The recovery also depends on eye power of the patient. Anyone who is physically fit and is aged above five years can go for eye yoga,” he adds.
When Dr Goswami started his clinic in 2012, it wasn’t a cake walk. Only one or two patients trickled in a day, initially. However, his success with patients, coupled with his own perseverance, eventually brought success.
WHAT YOGA CAN HELP CURE
● Defects in vision, including glaucoma, cataract, colour blindness, myopia, presbyopia
What it does
● Helps stressed and dry eyes relax. Exercises stretch and contract eye muscles, helping them regain flexibility. Also boosts blood flow to the nerves.
Forms of EYE YOGA
● Palming, ball games, pen exercise, concentrating on a candle flame, cat exercise, boom exercise, pendulum exercise