Trata… What ? Behind this word hides an efficient and fast meditation technique, accessible to everyone, including children. Trataka meditation (from sanskrit « eye concentration ») makes it easy to reach a deep feeling of relaxation and meditation.
Do you know why it differs from the other kinds of medidation ? Because Trataka is an openeye medidation technique. It means that you keep your eyes open and you focus your attention on an external object. It is frequently done with a candle, that’s why Trataka (also known as tratak or tratika) is commonly called « candle medidation ».
Yoga trataka has to be practiced in two stages : first you start focusing on an external object, like a candle flame and then you can narrow your attention to experience profound insight.
Here is a guide to make you experience this technique by yourself.
How to practice trataka meditation ?
Choose a trataka object
The first step to practice trataka meditation is to choose an object on which you are going to focus. A candle flame is a common choice. However you can take any object, the most important is that it contrasts with the rest of its environment (for example, the light of the candle in the dark). This will help you to leave the outside world behind you.
The trataka object can be physical, like an icon, a brillant object like the moon or the rising sun, a black point on a white background, a crystal, etc. You can also choose a part of your body like the tip of your nose (Nasagra Drishti) or the space between your eyes (the third eye or Bhrumadhya Drishti)
In order to internalize this object and reach a deep level of concentration more easily, you always have to choose the same trataka object.
First stage : external gazing
Confortably sit in meditation position with your head, neck and chest aligned and put your trataka objet as close as eye level, 2 or 3 feet away from you.
Gaze at your trataka object as long as possible, without blinking. Focus on your breath and on the object, without thinking about the outside world.
Don’t be surprised if a few tears are running through your face. Stay still as long as possible. If you need you can also repeat a mantra. It could help you.
When they become tired, close your eyes so that you can start the second stage of trataka medidation.
Second stage : internal gazing or « antar trataka ».
When you close your eyes, you have to be able to mentally imagine the trataka object. Focus on this image as a spectator. When the image disappears or your mind starts wandering, open you eyes again so that you can start the first stage again.
You can repeat the process up to 3 times. However don’t go over 10 to 15 minutes of practise unless you do it with an experienced yoga instructor.
What are the benefits of yoga trataka ?
In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, trataka meditation is considered as the sixth and last body cleansing practise. Indeed, it creates a link between body and psychical cleansing, while controlling your conscious and subconscious mental.
Regular practise of yoga trataka has a lot of advantages. Beside the deep concentration and relaxation feeling it produces, this kind of meditation allows you to strengthen your efficiency and you concentration ability on the long term. It can also help you to improve your memory and your expression skills.
On the physiological side, trataka medidation can also help you to improve your vision by reinforcing your ocular muscles. It is recommended for insomniac people : a short session of trataka just before going to sleep will help you to have a quiet and invigorating night. It can also help those who suffers from incontinence.
Finally trataka medidation is a great tool for your mental well-being. It has a calming effect which allows people suffering from anxiety or stress to improve their life quality.
Here are a few tips to follow if you want to start trataka meditation.
Even if it seems simple, trataka meditation can’t be improvised. If you want to do it under the best conditions, you have to follow these few rules.
- Trataka is not recommended for people suffering from psychological disorders such as schizophrenia or with a tendency to hallucination.
- Learning this kind of meditation has to be gradual and limited to 10-15 minutes and three repetitions.
- Your trataka object should be as still as possible to promote your concentration. If you choose a candle flame, make sure it is draft free.
- It’s better to practice trataka meditation in a place with low light. Like any other form of meditation, choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Wear comfortable clothing, such as YogaHun leggings.
- Don’t give up ! Trataka meditation is a practice over time !
We hope these few tips will make you want to try trataka meditation by yourself and experience its benefits.