Trataka is a form of vision clarity and eye exercise that originates from Hatha Yoga practices. It is one of the six Shat Kriyas, or cleansing actions. The other cleansing actions are kapalabhati (impulse breathing), nauli kriya (abdominal churning), dhauti (stomach purging), Jala & sutra neti (nasal flush), and vasti (colon cleansing). Trataka can be practiced using candle meditation and is a focusing practice that can help boost our ability to concentrate over time.
Trataka is a vision clarity practice that involved focuses the attention on a single point. This meditation technique uses our sense of sight to help settle the mind. Typically a candle is used for this practice, which is great because it is easily accessible and easy to use! Other options are a dot on the wall, the tip of your nose, or the sun *ONLY with supervision from a trained professional*. (No, your TV or cell phone doesn’t count!) This meditation practice is thought to purify, invigorate, while also increasing memory and concentration with routine practice. If done correctly, you should feel a deep sense of relaxation that you can carry into an additional meditation practice.
Read Also: How to Meditate When You Can’t Sit Still
Personally, this has been my favorite form of meditation as of late. With all of the distractions and obligations that are constantly flowing through my mind, I have felt like I needed something to focus on. I have been having difficulty just closing my eyes and focusing on my breath. Plus, I’ve always loved candles and have at least 20 in my home at all times. Read on to find the steps to this trataka candle meditation practice:
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Trataka Candle Meditation
- Choose a candle. Ideally this will be nontoxic (you don’t want any harmful fumes!) My favorites are xxxx. You could even choose a specific colored candle to manifest whatever you may need. Some popular colors are white (purity, cleansing), red (energy, strength), blue (serenity, patience), green (growth, physical healing), purple (spiritual power, 3rd eye chakra), yellow (mental focus, concentration). If you’d like to read a full post about color meaning and manifestation, let me know!
- Ensure you have a meditation space free from distractions. Put your phone away, turn the TV off, tell anyone else in your home not to bother you (nicely!). Also, this practice is best performed in the evening when it is already dark outside. This way you do not have outside light interfering with the practice. If it is day time, try utilizing black out curtains or a room without windows.
- Place the candle approximately 2-3 feet away, at eye level. I would recommend sitting on the floor with the candle on a table that is about eye level.
- Get comfortable. Sit upright in whichever position is most comfortable for you. This allows you to solely focus on the practice rather than readjusting every few moments. It is recommended by traditional practices to sit with your knees below your hips. For instance, on a cushion or a low seated chair.
- Begin with your eyes closed. Begin to steady your breath. Slow inhales and slow exhales, until you find a rhythm that is comfortable for you. For this practice, we won’t be focusing on the breath past this step, however it is important to steady your breath now to get you in the right frame of mind.
- When you feel steady, open your eyes. Open your eyes a little bit wider than your usual and look directly at the flame. The goal here is to not blink or blur your vision. We want your eyes to start to water softly. The tears are thought to carry away impurities from within.
- When you eyes are watering, close your eyes. Look up towards your third eye space (ajna chakra) and visualize the flame. You should be able to see a flame there as residual from staring at the actual flame.
- Continue with slow, deep breaths while you look into this vision. Fully absorb the light and focus intently on the flame. Do not allow other thoughts to distract you. If other thoughts come up, simply acknowledge and release them and refocus on the flame.
- When the vision fades, open your eyes slowly and repeat the process (steps 6 to 8). Set a timer before the practice for a set amount of time. I’d suggest beginning with 5 minutes and working your way up to longer.
- When your timer ends, reflect on the process that just occurred. How did it feel? What came up for you? How do you feel now?
With repeated practice, you will begin to visualize the flame in your third eye space much more easily. Personally, I love imagining the candles warmth expanding into my heart space. I bring this with me through the rest of the day, with the idea of a soft glow coming from inside.
It is said that with repetition, you can begin to notice a subtle flame within your navel center. This promotes vitality and inner health.
Give this great candle meditation a go and let me know how it works out for you! Share with your friends who may also struggle with other meditation practices!