Trataka or Candle Meditation is a powerful meditation practice that you can easily incorporate into your routine to boost concentration, memory and maintain healthy eyes. Whether you’re regular with your meditation practice, or just someone who wants to take the first steps into clearing their headspace, candle gazing can be a very efficient way to practice meditation and is a great option for those who struggle to stop their mind wandering. The fifteenth-century Sanskrit manual Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes trataka as:
“looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed”
According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika traditions there are several benefits from practicing candle meditation:
• Calms the mind promoting inner peace
• Provides relief from stress and anxiety by balancing the nervous system
• Strengthens intuition and clairvoyance
• Enhances patience and willpower
• Encourages restful sleep
Nine Steps to Powerful Candle Meditation
Create the right ambiance
by eliminating any distractions. Find a quiet place to meditate. Dim the lights making sure the room is dark and use a Himalayan salt lamp to give a warmth to the room.
Place the candle at eye level on a hard surface approximately 3-4 feet away from you.
Light the candle sit comfortably preferably with a straight back, using a cushion or blanket/meditative posture with your head, neck and trunk aligned. If you find your sitting in silence too much try adding some calming music or nature sounds.
Close your eyes take 5 deep breaths and watch the breath as it becomes calm, regular and even.
Open you eyes and rest your gaze on the middle part of the flame. Keep your eyelids slightly more open than usual but do not stare, and maintain a soft gaze without blinking or blurring your vision as long as possible.
Observe any thoughts that arise, watching them come and go without judgement. Don’t be hard on yourself its natural for the mind to wander, especially when your starting your practice.
Close your eyes when you can no longer sustain your gaze or when your eyes start to water (Don’t be alarmed as you are getting a natural eye bath, in which case wipe them gently with a tissue.
Develop your Practice gradually to conclude, you can close your eyes and find the after-image of the flame in your mind’s eye. Resting your awareness at the third eye point or the eyebrow center. Continue to gaze at this point until the flame disappears from your mind’s eye.
End your practice by taking a deep inhale and slowly exhale, allowing your eyes to rest.