Eyeing the many applications of eye bags

Eye bags, also called eye pillows, are small bags filled with light materials (usually plastic pellets) that yogis and yoginis use for various relaxation techniques. Although an eye bag may seem self-explanatory, there's actually more to eye bags than meets the, well, eye. They of course block light and other visual stimuli, which helps quiet the brain; they also put gentle pressure on your eyes, which slows your heart rate. You can just cover your eyes with a towel, but the effect isn't quite the same.

Eye bags are available in many shapes and sizes. Some eye bags are packed with herbal essences, which adds the incentive (in-scent-ive?) of aroma therapy, but be sure the perfume isn't so strong it becomes bothersome. Eye bags are usually about 4 x 8 inches and cost from $10 to $20, depending on which type you choose; some more-expensive models tie down like a mask, which is usually unnecessary. (Check out the appendix for more on locating props.) You usually place one eye-bag across the top of both eyes while you're in a lying position on your back.

If you decide to make your own eye bags, use materials such as cotton stuffed with rice, or silk stuffed with flaxseed. Even stuffing an old sock does the job. Be sure to do a good job on the seams — you don't want flaxseed in your eyes!

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