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FAQ: Will I have to practise lots of exercises?

Yes / no / maybe / it depnds what you mean by . . .

The most important thing to grasp about the Bates Method is that it is not 'eye gym'. It is no more possible to improve sight simply by doing physical jerks with the eyes than it is to learn to play the piano by doing press-ups with the fingers

'Tough on strain, tough on the causes of strain' so to speak. The whole point is to learn to recognise where strain comes from and to change our behaviour to avoid it.

In a lesson this may well involve trying out different movements and ways of looking at things. Whether it is necessary or a good idea to practise these things directly on one's own is another question! In the early stages in any case we tend to focus on exercises to activate the attentive mind, rather than focusing on the eyes directly.

Dr Bates wrote that 'there are as many hours in the day to use the eyes well as to use them badly'. In that sense we should be practising the method 24/7: this, however does not mean doing exercises for all this time, but applying what we have learnt from possibly quite brief periods of attentive work.

At some stages in learning there will be times when one is motivated, and feels able, to work constructively alone. At other times, it is often best to apply the maxim, 'first do no harm' and allow the understanding to develop before trying to do too much.

Obviously more could be said on this topic - but perhaps the important message at this point is that 'being too busy to do exercises' is not a reason for not learning Bates.

There will always be time for the things you need to do!