ChiRunning, Your Eyes and Your Vision - Chi Living

ChiRunning, Your Eyes and Your Vision

Posted by Katherine Dreyer on Tue Jul 28th, 2015, 8 comments

ChiRunning, Your Eyes and Your Vision

You probably know that exercise helps your heart, lungs, digestion, and immune system, but did you know that ChiRunning can greatly increase your eye health?

More and more studies show that exercise is great for your eyes.

One doc, in a NY Times article said “it’s beginning to look like we may have this other method” — exercise — “that costs almost nothing and results in you making your own growth factors, which is so much safer and more pleasant than having a needle stuck into your eyeball.”

The growth factors he mentions are created when you exercise. These growth factors, and one in particular called B.D.N.F., can improve and protect your eyesight.

All great news for walkers, runners and walk-runners.

When we teach ChiRunning®, many people notice that good posture changes the line of their eyesight. Before lifting the crown of your head, your chin is most likely slightly lifted. Notice, right now, where your chin is, then gently lift through the back of the neck and lift your crown (the back of the top of your head) into the air. Don’t push or force. Just a gentle lift. Your chin will come down slightly when you do this…and so will your line of vision.

We call this gentle tucking of the chin, the determined chin. It is a position of greater inner strength and stability.

What we teach in ChiRunning® is great for the eyes because you will need to learn to move your eyes from what might otherwise be a frozen line of vision

The eyes, like your body, need movement. The worst thing for them is to stare at a computer screen, frozen and keeping the same distance of vision for too long. What is best for your eyes is to look regularly at different distances and in different directions. It’s like yoga for the eyes.

You can practice yoga of the eyes anytime, gently rolling the eyeballs in the head, consciously looking at what is around you. Or moving the eyes back in forth at different levels of the room or landscape while keeping your head still.

In ChiRunning®, when you lift through the crown of your head for better posture, you’ll find your normal line of where your eyes rest is now down on the ground. To look up, you don’t want to life your chin, but move your eyeballs to look up.

We recommend you keep your head still and move your eyeballs more to look around, look at different distances, view the world and take it in.

Here are some recommendations to help support your eyes when you’re Chi running, walking and walk-running:

  1. Notice how good posture changes the line and trajectory of your site. That is good! It should be different. Use it as a reminder to move and use your eyeballs while your running or walking.
  2. Consciously look at different distances while you’re out exercising. Look at close details of leaves, store fronts, people around you, then look at a mid range distance and notice as much detail as you can, then look as far away as you can. Notice the shape and texture of clouds, the color and texture of the sky. Without straining, look as far away as you can.
  3. Also, practice expanding your peripheral vision. See how wide you can expand your side vision, so that you are aware of what is in front of your, but also what is around you. How much can you notice at one time? 
  4. Blink regularly. Blinking is good for your eyes and should be done more regularly.
  5. Y’chi is the practice of using your eyes to focus on an object and allow that focus to pull you towards it. This is best done when you have some confidence in your ChiRunning® technique.
  6. Use your eyes to notice how smooth your running form is. When you practice ChiRunning®, the midfoot strike and pelvic rotation give you a smoother stride. Your eyes will help you determine if you are bouncing up and down, or running smoothly. Use your vision as a reminder to practice good running technique.
  7. After a run, close your eyes during your stretching, allowing your eyes to rest. Closing your eyes also gives you better inner awareness and will allow you to listen more closely to your body as you stretch and cool down.

How your eyesight improves your personal vision for your self is a subject for another article, but suffice it to say, they are deeply connected. When you improve your running and fitness, you are improving your eyesight as well as the vision you have for your self as a human being.

Taken together, these experiments strongly suggest that “exercise protects vision, at least in mice, by increasing B.D.N.F. in the retina,” said Jeffrey Boatright, an associate professor of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine

8 CommentsLeave a comment below

Russell Flemming Jul 28th, 2015 03:10pm

Good article. You should also consider shielding your eyes from the sun.  Wearing sunglasses will protect them from harmful UVB and UVA rays.  Sunglasses help prevent you from squinting and furrowing up your face, which creates extra tension.  By wearing sunglasses, they allow you to run more relaxed, and you see clearer.  Besides, doesn’t everyone looks more mysterious when they run in sunglasses?

Wonderfully detailed new form focus—with dividends!

John Carlson Jul 29th, 2015 09:39am

Just goes to show that Chirunnig is for the whole human being in the largest sense of the word.

Thank you for such an informative article. The scientific backing supports the Tai Chi practice of directing the gaze.  smile

When many (most) of my peers are needing cataract surgery or stronger vision prescriptions, my doctor just recently said that I have amazing eye health for a 64 year old. Thanks Chi Running and an active life style plus healthy eating for my good vision check.

Great news that exercise does improve eyesight. I was told at my recent exam that my eyes are doing well and a slight hint of cataract (which is normal in a 70 year old). I do a lot of writing and have been exercising only moderately, but it seems to have made a difference. Thanks for giving the tip about posture that pulls the head up from the crown. It seems to give me better posture as I’ve experimented with it.

Dear Katherine!!!
I´m so happy to read your awesome post!
Such a wonderful and inspirational article. I just LOVE it!! I love Chirunning and I love Natural Vision and you have written just the perfect connection!!!!

Whenever I´m chirunning, I´m always been aware of the wonderful effects of Y´chi to improve peripheral vision, knowing that the balance of central and peripheral vision is a key issue for health eyesight.

We, as you say, tend to overuse central vision and forget about peripheral, in our daily life and that makes us seeing blurry because the center is exhausted and the periphery cells of the retina are bored of not being used!!

And related to this,  there is also something magical when I chi run that improves my vision and connects me with natural vision: when you move, everything around you is also moving ... opposite. This oppositional movement, called by Dr. Bates, apparent movement, if perceived, will improve your eyesight. Eyes and mind are more relaxed if they let go this movement and perceive it in the periphery. And it is very funny!!! And what we need to improve eyesight, as you say, and as Dr. Bates said, is just relaxation.
When we are in our minds and not in the body, thinking about what happened in the past or what will happen next but not in the “now”, we hardly perceive this “apparent movement”.
So, looking far in the distance, blinking softly and frequently and being aware of the apparent movement of everything around you: trees, streetlights, cars parked…even the ground you are leaving behind, as you walk or run… feel how everything moves as you move.

And closing the eyes!!!!! The end of the article is just awesome!!! Closing the eyes is rest for the visual system, rest for the optic nerve!!! Do we need rest? The eyes too!!! What a wonderful gift!!!

Thank you Katherine!! You have made me happy today!!!!
Love and happiness and chirunning-chiwalking to everybody!

chiliving as a whole bringing a great impact on my life, thanks dear!

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