Heal from Trauma with Extraocular Exercise


I am sure you have heard the saying, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Sadly, that spark in the eyes can be dulled when trauma has been experienced at different levels.

In this post, I share a simple eye exercise that has been proven to help heal trauma and is also strengthens an important developmental skill which is essential for learning.

From a physical perspective, this practice helps to strengthen the extraocular muscles around the eyes. Along with creating ease in binocular vision and eye teaming, it also separates movement of the eyes and the head. Believe it or not, there are many children in your classroom who struggle with this and it is contributing to many academic delays which include reading and writing.

From an emotional standpoint, it has been found that engaging in side to side ocular movements while recalling a traumatic, troublesome, or fearful event can help rewire the past trauma and help individuals heal from these experiences. As always, I find it amazing how the body has the capacity to change the mind, grow the mind and heal.

Practice: Candle Breath

1. Sit up tall with your spine long and straight.

2. Interlace your fingers, and hold a pencil, marker, or crayon between your palms. Imagine this is your candle. The tip is the flame of the candle, which you will keep your eyes on throughout the practice.

3. Hold your candle close to your nose as you look at the “flame.” Inhale through your nose.

4. Gently exhale through your mouth to blow the flame of the candle.

5. While blowing, move your candle slowly away by extending your arms in front of you.

6. Keeping your eye on the tip of your candle, breathe in through your nose, and bring the candle back toward your nose.

7. Breathe out, and blow the candle away, extending your arms in front of you.

8. Repeat 3 more times.

Need assistance sharing mindful practices like this in your classroom?  Zensational Kids has an extensive video library designed as “click and play” to use for direct classroom instruction.