- Light the candle and place it on a small sable so that he flame is exactly at eye level when sitting.
- Sit in any comfortable meditation asana with the head and spine erect. Adjust the position so that the candle is an arm’s length away from the body.
- Close the eye and relax the whole body, especially the eyes.
- Be aware of body steadiness for a few minutes. keep the body absolutely still throughout the practice.
- Open the eyes and gaze steadily at the tip of the wick
- The flame may flicker slightly but the tip of the wick will always remain steady.
- Try not to blink or move the eyeballs in any way.
- Do not strain as this will cause tension and the eyes will flicker.
- The awareness should be so completely centered on the wick that body awareness is lost.
- If the mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to the practice.
- After a minute or two, when the eyes become tired or begin to water, close them gently.
- Gaze at the after-image of the flame in the space in front of the closed eyes. If the image moves up or down, or from side to side, observe it and and try to stabilize it.
- When the image of the flame begins to fade, try to bring it back.
- When the image can no longer be retained, gently open the eyes and gaze at the tip of the wick once more.
- Repeat the procedure for external gazing.
- Close the eyes once more and gaze at the inner image.
- Continue in this way 3 or 4 times.
- After completing the final round, practice palming 2 or 3 times, before opening the eyes (see chapter on eye exercises).
- This completes the practice.
Time of practice
Trataka may be performed at any time but, the best time is at dawn or dusk when the stomach is empty.
Beginners should gaze for 1 or 2 minutes only. For general purposes 10 minutes is sufficient. For spiritual purposes or to rectify an eye defect, trataka may be performed for extended periods of time after consulting a qualified therapist or teacher. Those who suffer from insomnia and mental tension should perform this practice for 10 to 15 minutes before sleeping at night.
Trataka must be practised on steady flame, so there should be no draught in the vicinity. The practitioner should always avoid undue strain.
- This practice makes the eyes clear and bright.
- It balances the nervous system, relieving nervous tension, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
- It improves the memory and helps to develop good concentration and strong willpower.
- It activates ajna chakra and is an excellent preparation for meditation.