The practice of Traataka – candle gazing, is a centering practice for the Mind in times of external and internal turmoil. It is a practice that helps a distracted mind and practically speaking and in my view, it is great practice for those lost in social media and the blue light of their computer.
Traataka is a reputed to be a helpful practice for emotional disturbance, giving focus and working out what really is going on. It is a simple practice but as in most simple practices, profound.
In its most simplest understanding, it’s gazing at a candle flame without blinking. You want to sit about 3 feet away from a candle flame and stare at it without blinking. Ensure the candle flame is not disturbed by wind.
You may want to start with 3 minutes and then after about 5 days increase this to 6 minutes then 5 days later 9 minutes until you get to 15 minutes.
When tears start to flow from the eye/s, gently close the eye lids, wipe your tears and imagine the candle flame deep in the forehead space. When the image begins to disappear, open your eyes and continue at staring at the candle flame.
It is an excellent practice for focus, determination. and dealing with a distracted mind, giving great peace to a disturbed mind.
The essence of the practice is people do not see what is in front of them. What they see is coloured by their viewpoints and thoughts that come and go. When people first start this practice they do not really see the candle flame although that is what they are staring at – in other words they are not present to the flame. They are only present to the movie clips of the mind. This practice allows you to pierce through the movie of the mind and introduces you to your own light.
This practice brings peace and light to the mind reminding it of its intrinsic nature. It is a foundational practice for many advanced practices. You can add to the practice by adding a mantra such as So Hum and combining this mantra with breath or recite the Gayatri mantra.
This practice is contra indicated if you have cataracts, myopia glaucoma, astigmatism or epilepsy. If in doubt please consult with your yoga teacher.