Bates Method International

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Techniques: The Sway

The Sway is a vision game that brings a heightened awareness of oppositional movement. Most people have experienced this when in a large form of transport, like a train. If you're sitting in a train and another train next to yours starts pulling out it is common to experience that it is not the other train that is moving, but yours.

The sway is just like that, but it involves everyday surroundings and can literally be experienced all day long.

How to Sway

I recommend you first try the Sway just after palming, when your eyes and mind are most relaxed.

Find a window through which you can see a nice view.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.

Look at something in the distance - don't worry if it is blurred, notice its color for a moment.

Close your eyes, allow your breath to rise and fall naturally, and just notice the sounds around you.

Breathing and listening, gently and slowly sway from side to side, shifting your weight from foot to foot.

Sway to the right from the ground up Sway to the left

Let your whole self be like a pendulum, slowly rocking from the ground up, only flexing the knees a little. Let the heel of the non-supporting foot lift away from the floor slightly, as  your weight moves to the other side.

Let the heel of the foot lift from the floor Allow the heal to gently come away from the floor

As your heel comes off the floor, let the ankle be relaxed.

Before you open your eyes, check that you are still breathing easily and that you are listening and aware.

Open your eyes, look at your distant spot, and as you sway you may notice movement in the surrounding areas.

Breathe.

While still looking at your object outside, notice the window frame: it appears to move in response to your sway.

Which direction does it move in relation to you?

Let that movement continue by looking at your distant spot as you sway.

All Day

Generally the longer you practise this, the greater the sensation of movement: it is even possible to reach a point where the movement is continual and cannot be stopped.

This is actually a very good thing. The movement itself is not unnatural - your eyes receive this information every waking moment, but it is only the mind that has filtered it and made the world appear stationary.

People with good vision find this game quite easy, and even normal; those with impaired sight have more difficulty with it, even to the extent that experiencing the movement of the world is not possible without considerable determination and much ingenuity.

The world moves. Let it move. All objects move if you let them. Do not interfere with this movement, or try to stop it. This cannot be done without an effort which impairs the efficiency of the eye and mind.
Wm H. Bates: Better Eyesight Magazines, July 1920