Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Trataka is a pure cleansing technique according to Hatha Yoga texts (Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita).
Trataka is part of the 6 yogic techniques for purification (shatkarma).
According to Gheranda Samhita, sutra 53-54:
“Gazing at a subtle object without blinking the eyes, until tearts begin to fall, is known as trataka. With constant practice of trataka, shambhavi mudra is achieved, defects of the eyes are removed and divine vision is attained.”
There are 3 types of trataka:
1. Bahir trataka (external trataka) An object, image or symbol is selected (can be the sun, moon, stars, a picture of the guru…). One’s consciousness is unified with this only one object while gazing at it continuously with opened eyes.
2. Antar trataka (inner or internal trataka) Here, the eyes are closed. Imagine the object on the inner space of the mind (chidakasha, right between the eyebrows) and concentrate on this unique point.
3. Adho trataka (eyes half opened and half closed) The eyes are half opened and half closed like Lord Buddha. Nasikagra mudra and shambhavi mudra are also considered to be practices of adho trataka.
Removes the defects of the eyes.
Increase the clarity of vision.
Balances the nervous system.
Helps to remove nervous tics or uncontrolled nervous activity such as one eye blinking very fast.
It can relieve eyestrain, and helpful in other eye disorders (myopia, etc…).
Helps to deal with conflicting thoughts, mental restless and instability.
Helps to improve the memory by calming the mind.
Develops the power of concentration.
Good for the preparation of meditation.
Very helpful for good sleep (to fight with the insomnia).
People with glaucoma should not practice trataka.
Epileptics should not practice trataka on a candle flame.
Technique for Bahir trataka (external object) with the candle:
Light on the candle/lamp.
Place it on a brick/table so that the flame is at the eye level in front of you when you sit on the floor/mat.
The distance should be arm’s length from the eyes.
Sit in Padmasana or in any meditative asana.
Relax your whole body with 5 to 7 belly breathings.
Make your posture steady/stable like a statue with straight spine.
Make the resolve/sankalpa that I will not move my body during all the practice.
Bring your awareness right between the eyebrows or the dark infinite empty space. Stay here for few minutes (at least 1 or 2 minutes).
When you are ready, open your eyes, and gaze at the flame. Try to maintain your attention on the top of the wick, if possible. Try not to look anything else. Try not to blink your eyelid or move your eyeballs, but don't strain the eyes. When it's must, then you should blink. With the gradual practice, you will realize that your eyes are able to gaze without blinking the eyes for longer period of time.
Keep your awareness on the candle flame and the wick.
If your mind wanders, very gently bring it back to the flame.
When tears start, eyes will close automatically. Relax your eyes completely and try to visualize the candle's flame in front of your eyes or right between your eyebrows as longer as you can (Antar trataka).
When the emerge of the flame disappears, and eyes completely relax, then repeat the same practice.
At the beginning, 1 to 2 minutes in one time. Repeat it 3 times.
Good practitioners can increase the time up to 5 minutes.
Should increase the practice very slowly, gradually.
If somebody face too much burning sensation in the eyes, should chose any other object like a black point on the wall, the moon, a flower...
Always practice with the guidance of a teacher.
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