The Eyes Have It

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No doubt, yoga has taken Newport Beach by storm.

It seems there is a new yoga studio that pops up every month offering a variety of classes.

Those seeking to further align the mind-body connection, while improving their eyesight, give eye yoga a try.  You can do it at home, don’t need a mat and the results are immediate with only a few minutes of eye exercises a day.

Find out everything you want to know in the book “Eye Yoga,” co-written by sisters Dr. Jane Rigney Battenberg and Martha M. Rigney. “Eye Yoga” is a comprehensive book that not only provides detailed exercises for the eyes, but also gives readers an in-depth look at exactly how our eyes and brain are connected.

The sisters explain how doing eye yoga will not only improve your vision, but improve the way you view the world, the way you think, and ultimately, the way you feel.

Eye yoga creates stronger eye muscles to be sure, but it also creates new neuropathways in the brain, the authors say, awaking new capabilities.

The eye-brain connection starts as early as the first month of embryonic development.  The book says about embryos: “The brain has two button-shaped discs or eye buds on either side, and as the eye buds move around to the front of the head they extend externally as the skull develops.”  Eyes begin as part of the brain and are literally throughout our life, “an external extension of the brain.”

So, it would follow, eye exercises are also brain exercises.  The exercises are simple: following a partner’s index finger and having the partner relay which eye seems to begin to shift or wander first. Or following a partner’s finger as it draws a figure eight in the air.

Last week, Newport Beach resident Jean MacFarland attended an eye yoga workshop led by author Battenberg at Visions & Dreams on Newport Boulevard.  She said, “After doing just a few eye exercises I found my vision had improve noticeably. With the opportunity of new pathways, old habits and ruts can be eliminated and a fresh new way of thinking can emerge.  I am excited to discover what is available for me.”

Battenberg helps illustrate the eye-brain connection in simple terms.

“Think of your childhood home – how many windows did it have?” she asks.  Reflexively – our eyes go upward as the brain tries to construct pictures.  The eyes going up actually activates the visual part of the brain.  Conversely, our eyes go down when we are concentrating on remembering a feeling or talking to ourselves.  This relationship is true of all aspects of the brain including cognition, emotion, and memory.  By enhancing eye muscles and eyesight, we are accessing and stimulating more of our brain.

While eye yoga is good for anyone and will improve vision, it is not a cure for serious eye conditions or diseases that should be treated by specialists.

“Eye Yoga” is available for $18.95 at or For more information visit


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