Is a Japanese word for staring vacantly into the distance. It describes a visual phenomena that is related to nervous system states, and a restorative practices that involves softening the eyes and the attention.
Aside from its general utility for chilling out, softening the eyes and letting them gaze into the distance has significant effects on our stress physiology. Single-point vision, which is what we are doing most of the time, is the kind of seeing required for responding to threats. To soften the gaze—some of our nature awareness teachers call this Owl Eyes—to let the focus dissolve and expand into the peripheral vision, often shifts us from more sympathetic (stress) to more ventral vagal (connection and relaxation) states.
Video: Distill | Photography: Stein Egil Liland | Licensed from Pexels.com, used with permission.