Sleepy Eye

Sleepy eye is a method that is used with Tai Chi practice that has a lot of really neat qualities in terms of helping the practitioner to first conserve and then to build and then later to express internal energy. The origination of sleepy eye seems to be the Shaolin Temple and although the practice is seldom seen in Shaolin Kung Fu forms it is a method that is practiced by the monks.

To perform sleepy eye simply allow your eyebrows to droop as if you are very tired. You should find that your field of vision is actually increased even though everything that is more than a few feet away visually will normally appear very fuzzy. While performing sleepy eye you will perceive incoming motion such as from a kick or a punch much earlier and be able to easily respond to it much quicker and with more precision. In the Tai Chi classics there are statements about how a Tai Chi master can respond second and yet arrive first in response to being attacked. Sleepy eye is a critical skill that is required to be able to perform this way.

If you pay attention to your body while performing sleepy eye you will find that you are much better able to feel and perceive inside your body while practicing sleepy eye. This is a critical aspect of self healing. You must be able to feel inside of yourself to move energy and dramatically effect your own internal healing processes.

Properly performed sleepy eye will help you to deeply relax and calm both your mind and body. Practice your Tai Chi set while performing sleepy eye and you should notice a profound difference in how you experience your practice of Tai Chi and how your Tai Chi feels to you. The same is true for most Chi Kung / Qi Gong.

If sleepy eye is a new practice to you then please let us know how sleepy eye affects your practice and what kinds of sensations and experiences you get from trying it out. If you have been practicing sleepy eye for awhile let us know if you learned anything new about sleepy eye or have any other questions about it.

Good practice and blessings to all of you.
Until next time.


  1. Dan Eidson, DCH, LMT says

    I have found myself performing this without realizing it. Going into peripheral or side vision while doing Wu Chi or Tai Chi helps to maintain a broader vision as well.
    I have an exercise taught to me by Andrew Lum called Wheel Circle.
    You simply keep your head and body still with palms facing outward. Draw a big circle with both your hands around the peripheral vision, using your eyes only to track, then repeat in the other direction. One of my senior students verified by a doctor that it was helping her macular degeneration.
    It also trains your eyes for anything moving toward you quickly outside the perimeter of your vision. Another student said it helped her driving defense with cars pulling out in front of her.
    It seems that when I perform lazy eye, it also increases the peripheral vision as well.
    Thanks for this interesting information, I never connected the two components before for some reason.

  2. Sifu,

    It wasnt very clear to me on how to perform this exercise, could you please explain it more in detail.

    Thank you so much

Speak Your Mind