How to Choose the Best Eye Pillows for Your Practice
Savasana is yoga’s most important asana. It is the time when your body and mind integrate the benefits of your practice. My teacher, Pujari, says that Savasana is the time when you “collect the karma of your practice.” Over my decades of practice, I’ve realized that the most helpful way to facilitate the process of integration is to do as little as possible. The more open, relaxed and receptive your body and mind, the easier it is for your practice to settle into you.
You can employ many helpers to support deeper relaxation in Savasana. Some people enjoy a rolled up Yoga Blanket or Bolster under their legs to release tension in the lumbar spine. Many people like having a light blanket over their bodies to keep them warm as the body cools during Savasana. Another helpful tool is to place an Eye Pillow over your eyes.
Eye pillows block out visual stimulation, especially light, allowing a more internal experience in Savasana. Using an Eye pillow helps release tension in the forehead, eye sockets, temples, cheekbones, neck and shoulders. Eye pillows filled with herbs such as lavender help calm the nervous system. Some yoga teachers believe that the gentle weight on your eye sockets sends a neurological signal that promotes whole body relaxation.
Which Eye Pillows Are Best for Your Practice?
Like every other aspect of asana practice, there’s no one-size-fits-all Eye pillow. That is why Hugger Mugger carries a variety of choices. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve found to be the best use of each of Hugger Mugger’s Eye Pillows. All these Eye pillows are made in the USA:
Silk Eye Pillows with Bead Filling: These are the first Eye pillows Hugger Mugger began making more than 20 years ago. The plastic beads make these Eye pillows simple to wash, so they are great for studio use. I wash my Eye pillows once every two to three weeks during most of the year. During cold and flu season, I step it up to once a week at times. Some of the Eye pillows at my studio have probably been washed more than 100 times and they’re still going strong. Many of them are more than 20 years old!
To wash: Place in a sink full of hot water and a mild hand-wash soap. Place like colors with other like colors, as the blue and lavender silk colors can tend to bleed. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes. Rinse and hang to dry. They will probably take a few hours to dry. I usually turn the bags over after a few hours to dry the spot that’s been resting against the drying rack.
Silk Eye Pillows with Flax Seed Filling: Many people prefer the feel of flax seeds. In general they feel softer and more “fluid” against your skin. The eye pillows I use at home contain flax seeds. They are not as appropriate for studio use, however, because in order to wash them, the filling needs to be emptied out. I know from experience that if you throw a flax-filled Eye Pillow into a sink full of water with the flax seeds still inside, your Eye Pillow will turn into a brick. The covers are zippered, so if you are washing just your own individual Eye Pillow, the care is very easy.
To wash: Empty the filling out into a bowl. Hand wash the silk cover in a sink full of hot water and mild soap. Soak for 10 minutes. Rinse and hang to dry. The cover will dry very quickly. Use a kitchen funnel to pour the filling back into your Eye Pillow. If you ever feel as if you want to replace the flax seeds, you can usually buy them in bulk at any natural foods store.
Silk Eye Pillows with Herbal Filling: These Eye Pillows are filled with flax seeds and relaxing herbs—lavender, orange peel and peppermint. Many people feel that the herbs enhance their relaxation experience in Savasana, while others who are sensitive to scent may prefer other options. Like the Eye Pillows with flax seed filling, these Eye Pillows are zippered for ease in washing.
To wash: See the washing instructions for Silk Eye Pillows with Flax Seed Filling. If you want to refresh the filling, you can likely find the herbs and flax seeds in the bulk section at most natural foods stores.
Peachskin Eye Pillows: These Eye Pillows are covered with sturdy, cozy “peached” polyester fabric and filled with flax seeds and herbs. Peachskin Eye Pillows are sturdy enough to place in the microwave if you’re seeking heat, or in the freezer if you’re craving cool. The herbal filling promotes relaxation.
To wash: Spot clean only.
Piccolo Eye Pillows: Our Piccolo Eye Pillows are about half the size of our regular Eye Pillows . While most people love the weight and feel of our regular Eye Pillows , there are some people who have found that even the gentle pressure of a standard Eye Pillow can produce a temporary (minute or so) blurring in their vision. People wearing contact lenses also sometimes find standard Eye Pillows to be a little too heavy. For these folks, Hugger Mugger invented Piccolo Eye Pillows. Filling options are flax seeds or flax seeds and herbs. Because these bags are so light Hugger Mugger chose not to weight one side of the bag with a zipper. Instead, there’s a removable, silk outer cover that allows for washing without disturbing the filling. The ease in washing these Eye Pillows makes them appropriate for studio use.
To wash: Remove the outer cover. Because of possible color bleeding, wash colors separately. Soak the cover(s) in a sink full of hot water and mild soap for 10 minutes or so. Hang to dry. The covers will dry very quickly.