What I want to do today is a vision drill combined with a body awareness drill.
What we’re going to take you through is a very, very simple what’s called gaze stabilization exercise. This is literally a foundational exercise for all eye movement training that we do.
Gaze stabilization is exactly what it sounds like, which is I’m going to have you hold a target. Right here I’m using what we call a saccade pencil. It has letters on it and we’re going to hold that in eight different positions. Just think about a compass being in front of you. So we have north, south, east, west, and then our diagonals.
So what we would typically have you do is get into a nice neutral stance. Try to relax. And the first thing I’m going to have you do is close your eyes and do a body scan.
Notice how much tension you have in your abdomen, your butt, your pelvic floor,
your legs, your arms, your neck. All right, and note that, you can even write it down if you want to.
Then we’re going to begin progressively working our way around the compass. So we’ll take our target, extend our arm, keep our head still. We’re just going to look at the target. We’re going to do that for five seconds. And your job is not just to stay focused on the target, but your job is to also pay attention to what’s happening in your body.
Meaning if, in this position, I begin feeling tense, I want to breathe and notice how much body tension I’m generating in order to help stabilize my gaze.
Usually, what people will find is that as they work their way around the compass there will be two to three areas where they’ll be three to four seconds in and they’ll feel their body beginning to grip and beginning to tighten. That is usually an indication that is an area that you need to do some work in. So you breathe, you relax and you repeat for 5 seconds and you do that three or four times and then just try and do that a couple times a day.
What we’re really looking at is a familiarization process that being in this particular gaze position does not automatically trigger protective responses in the body. Because that’s usually what tension is indicative of.
So, very simple. We have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight positions. Five second holds in each position and your main job is not just to stare at the target, but to also notice what’s happening in your body. If you do some pre and post-testing, for instance, you could check your forward bend or check some rotations. Check your shoulder range of motion and you find an area. where you notice your body tensing
and then you breathe through that and you relax hold for another 5 to 10 seconds while relaxing. You then go back and retest. Often you’ll see that your overall tension has decreased and your mobility has improved.
So give this a shot. This is something that you will not typically master in one day. This is something you need to do a little bit of regular practice in because our vision is very habitual. As is our muscle tension, and I just want you to be aware of how intrinsically linked they can be based off how we use our eyes. Give this a shot. Let us know how it goes for you.