The 'Staring at the Screen All Day' Sequence

Are your eyes dry or itchy or both? Are they tired? Can you feel a muscle just above your eye twitching?

I've just returned to my work as an IT consultant after almost seven months of leave. My body clock is completely out so I'm suffering from lack of sleep. Staring all day at a screen and the air conditioning are playing havoc with my eyes. By the afternoon I'm in the rest rooms putting saline drops in my eyes. It probably doesn't help that when I'm not staring at a computer screen I seem to be checking out the iPhone or working on the iPad.

There are muscles that control the movement of the eye and like any other muscles they can become tired and strained.

This sequence combines basic eye exercises from the Sivananda and Satyananda traditions that are designed to relax and strengthen the eyes.

This post describes:


  • If you suffer from glaucoma, trachoma, cataract, retinal detachment, conjunctivitis or another major eye disease or disorder, consult an eye specialist before performing these exercises.
  • Remove glasses, and if possible, contacts before performing these exercises.
  • Do not strain. Keep the gaze steady and relaxed.

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The Practices

  • Palming
    1. Sit in a comfortable seated position and close the eyes.
    2. Rub the palms of the hands together vigorously to create some warmth.
    3. Place the palms gently over the eyelids without pressure.
    4. Feel the warmth transfer to the eyes and let the eyes relax.
    5. Stay in this position until the hands cool.
    6. Repeat at least two more times.
    7. Optionally, perform a round of palming after each exercise.
  • Blinking
    1. Sit with eyes open.
    2. Blink the eyes 10 times quickly.
    3. Close the eyes and relax for 5-6 breaths.
    4. Repeat up to four times.
  • Up and down movements
    1. Sit with the eyes open.
    2. Imagine a clock in front of you and look up at 12 o'clock.
    3. Hold for a second and then move the eyes down to six o'clock.
    4. Repeat up to nine more times.

      Try not to blink throughout the exercise.

  • Side-to-side movements

    Sitting with the eyes open, move the eyes between nine o'clock and three o'clock up to 10 times.

  • Diagonal movements
    1. Sitting with the eyes open, move the eyes between two o'clock and seven o'clock up to 10 times.
    2. Optionally, perform a round of palming.
    3. Move the eyes between 11 o'clock and four o'clock up to 10 times.
  • Rotational movements

    Make 10 circles with the eyes in each direction as if tracing the rim of the clock.

If you have time, finish with a short relaxation or meditation practice such as breath awareness or yoga nidra.

Try the audio meditation from the Yoga Journal challenge or my yoga nidra.

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