Making Your Own Eye Pillows

One of my most favorite parts about a yoga class is shavasana or corpse pose – the final rest of every class that I will teach. Years ago, when I attended longer 75 or 90 minute yoga classes, we would spend 5-7 minutes laying on the ground and we had props to make us comfy. We had bolsters for under our knees, blankets to keep us warm, and possibly, eye pillows to cover your eye lids adding some gentle pressure as you relax further, sinking into the floor.

I feel like Covid 19 has basically eliminated the option to share commonly in public spaces, so the need for your own props is even more important – especially ones that go near your face! With that in mind, I am hoping people will buy their own eye pillow or MAKE their own so they can continue to enjoy the relaxing effects of this cute little prop.

Eye pillows are typically made of silk or cotton and filled with rice, dried beans, or flax seeds. They often have essential oils – example : lavender or eucalyptus – added to them too for some soothing aromatherapy or just pleasant smell to relax you further.

When to use an eye pillow (according to Yoga Journal)

  • Put one over your eyes or on your forehead when you lay down to sleep. This will help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep throughout the night
  • Use one at the end of your yoga practice during savasana for ultra relaxation
  • Pair it with your restorative yoga practice
  • Anytime you feel anxious, depressed, or stressed and can use a quick pick-me-up or more grounding.

There are scientific studies that discuss gentle pressure on your eyes stimulating the vagus nerve which is responsible for regulating the heart rate and digestion. So you can possibly expect to feel more relaxed after Savasana and even more so with an eye pillow!

Since these little guys are more useful than just yoga (as per above), I thought I would go through the steps I used to make them!

Truly, this endeavor was encouraged by my husband, who thought a 25lb bag of rice was a little on the large end for our current arroz needs (at the time I was making velvet pumpkins with it) but bought it anyway at COSTCO for me. I had multiple 8 cup Ball jars full of rice left over even after I exhausted my pumpkin fix. Since that was in October of LAST year, the rice has been sitting for a bit, just staring at me, asking me to use it in another project! Then I remembered how relaxing and cool a rice filled pillow feels on your face after a vigorous or gentle yoga practice and I grabbed some fabric and got to work!

If you are here for EXACT directions, you may be disappointed.

As with most things, I measured sort of, and created a template to work from by eyeballing it – sewing rectangles is pretty simple and if you can sew with a machine in a straight line, you should NAIL this project!

I figured with a 1/4 to 1/2 inseam, folded in half, this looked about right. So, about 10 inches by 10 inchesISH.

Now that you’ve created this square sort of shape (yes, I know it looks like a square but if it isn’t even, rectangle!) you simply fold the pattern side together and sew the open edges (folding it makes it easier since you only have 3 sides to deal with. you can always cut 5″ x 10″ pieces and sew all the way around too) leaving about an inch on one narrow end BETWEEN the corners.

As you can see here, I have sewn and reinforced the corners so you have a nice sturdy edge, and have about an inch to pull the eye pillow right side out.

At this point, you want to trim all the fabric close to the seem, maybe snipping the corners off at an angle. Then you can you pull the right side through the opening you left and you can fill it with rice! You can use beans or flax seeds too, and just use a funnel large enough to fit them in the eye pillow! You can engage the kiddos to help with the filling, and if you have a broom that might be a good thing to keep around too. Sometimes you need to help the corners a bit by poking them with a sharp pencil unless you don’t care (or, in my case sometimes, don’t remember).

Now, you can add a few drops of of your favorite essential oil into the bag, about 2 – 3 should do the trick. I am a big fan of scents and other then how they smell, I do not have a lot of knowledge about which oils do what. I love the combination of lavender and eucalyptus so that’s what I use!

Now you have to sew this shut! Using an invisible stich, you can cinch it up nice and clean!

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There you have it – you can leave it clean and cinched shut or have a cute red line like I have above – and if you don’t want to through all this trouble (or FUN as I like to call it) feel free to find these at Xtra Mile Running to be used after a RMDY Yoga class!

Now you can relax and rest, you deserve it!

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