Candle Gazing, Trataka: Yogic Cleansing Practices (Kriyas) and Meditation
Trataka – According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Candle Glazing (Trataka) ‘cures diseases of the eyes and removes tiredness.’ Also it focuses the mind, improves concentration and is very calming. As such, it is a very good preparation for meditation. If possible, practice in a darkened room.
– Yoga Lily, Hatha Yoga classes in Milton Keynes
1. Light a candle or an oil lamp and place it on a low table so that it will be exactly level with the eyes. Sit on the floor using a comfortable meditation posture, so there is a distance of about 1 meter (1¼ yards) between the face and the flame. Keep the back straight and the shoulders relaxed.
2. Decide in advance how long you would like gaze at the flame. In the beginning, 30, 45, or 60 seconds is realistic. Although you can’t look at a clock do your best to stick to your set time. Then this exercise will develop your equanimity and internal resilience. While initially it will be difficult to gaze at the flame without blinking for more than a few moments, this will become noticeably easier with practice. Over weeks of practice, gradually increase the dazing time from 1 to 3 minutes.
3. Gaze at the flame steadily without blinking or moving the eyes. Keep your attention totally focused on the flame. Your eyes may begin to water or you may experience some distortions of your vision. This is normal. Keep a steady mind and resist the urge to blink. When you’re set time is up, close eyes gently.
4. With eyes closed, an after-image of the flame may appear. Observe it in your minds eye, like a focal point for your meditative mindset. When it disappears, begin your next round of gazing.
5. At the end of the third round, rub your hands together vigorously, letting the friction build lots of warmth, then cover the eyes with the cupped palms and let the eyes relax in the soothing darkness. This practice is called palming.