What is Trataka Meditation?
For all too many of us, stress is a way of life.
Dealing with stress can be tricky, and many people prefer to use meditation as a way to relax. While there are different types of meditation, the key point remains the same - to calm the mind and relax the body.
You may have heard of Trataka meditation, an alternative form of traditional meditation methods.
The point of this kind of meditation is to enter a calmer state of being and often relies on an external focal point. Trataka meditation tends to require more concentration and preparation than regular meditation. Peace and quiet are necessary to set the scene for any kind of meditation.
Trataka meditation especially requires quiet and stillness.
So, let’s dive a little deeper. What does Trataka meditation involve? How is it different from traditional meditation? And more importantly, how can Trataka meditation benefit you?
Trataka Meditation: Finding Your Focus Point
By now, you might be wondering how to do Trataka meditation. We’ve got the lowdown below!
Trataka meditation is often referred to as concentrated gazing or candle gazing. Known as a cleansing form of meditation, Trataka meditation involves focusing on the flame of a lighted candle.
Start by taking up a comfortable position.
If you’re already used to meditating, why not use your usual posture? It’s important to be comfortable, relaxed, but alert. You can sit on the floor or on a chair and stool, whichever you prefer. If you find that you can’t get comfortable, this can distract you from your meditation.
It’s best to sit in a dark or dimly lit room. This focuses the mind and allows the lit candle to be the most noticeable object in the room.
This is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space in your home.
Setting aside a room for meditation is not practical for most people. Make sure there are no draping curtains or anything that could catch on a candle. Remember, you’ll have a naked flame around during your meditation. If you have small children, try and keep them out of the way during your meditation sessions.
Place the candle in front of you at eye level so that you don’t need to look up or down to see the flame. Make sure the flame doesn’t flicker; it should burn steadily. Straighten your back and close your eyes.
When you’re ready, open your eyes and focus on the flame of the candle, just above the wick. Try not to blink. Focus on the flame, keeping it in your mind. This can make your eyes water, which was originally considered to be a cleansing element of Trataka meditation.
However, don’t strain your eyes!
Blink if you need to. And when you close your eyes, stay mindful. Imagine the flame of the candle with your eyes turned up towards the center of your eyebrows. Open your eyes again when you’re ready.
Repeat this process every five to ten minutes for as long as you usually meditate.
During your meditation, try and stay mindful of your body. Focus on your breathing, all the while keeping the image of the candle in your mind.
A candle flame is an excellent focal point. However, once you’re more experienced, you can try focusing on different things. For example, you could use the moon as a focal point during Trataka meditation.
You can also check out: Meditation 101: Calming Your Mind & Soul
History of Trataka Meditation
Trataka meditation is a very old practice designed to bring about calm and stillness. Like many forms of meditation, it dates back to the fifteenth century and has been used ever since. Trataka meditation is split into two forms, internal and external concentrated gazing.
External concentrated gazing requires something outside the body to focus on, like the flame of the candle.
This is usually the easiest form of Trataka, as it allows you to focus on something external, easing a beginner into the practice. Especially if you aren’t used to meditating, external concentrated gazing is the best place to start.
Internal concentrated gazing requires more practice and self-control. Rather than relying on an external focus, the focus is internal. You could conjure up the image of a candle flame in your mind or something else to draw your focus.
This can be handy if you don’t have something to focus on.
Trataka Meditation Benefits
A person’s vision is connected to their mind.
In fact, our lives and actions can be said to be led by our eyes. Meditation is known to relax and calm the mind, among many other benefits. It teaches our eyes to focus correctly and sharpens the senses. Let’s take a look at some noticeable Trataka meditation benefits.
1. Calms the Mind
Training the mind on an external object, like a candle flame, helps the mind to become still.
Our minds chatter all the time, and it can be difficult to find internal peace and quiet. Spending even a few minutes a day in Trataka meditation begins to train our minds to be still, focused on the flame.
2. Sharpens the Senses
Trataka meditation steps involve sitting in a dark or dimly lit room and focusing on one bright object, like a candle flame.
This directs your energies into observing and focusing on the flame, taking in all the details and colors. The practice of focusing on one item to the exclusion of all else can actually sharpen the senses.
3. Improves Concentration
Trataka meditation takes practice. You may be a naturally energetic person, and the idea of sitting still and staring at a candle flame for minutes on end may not be appealing. However, if you persevere, Trataka meditation can improve your concentration.
It’s a good idea to start with short periods of meditation and gradually build up to longer periods.
Read this next: How Meditating Everyday Changed My Life
Why Should You Try Trataka Meditation?
Meditation brings a host of benefits. As well as providing a great outlet for stress and restlessness, it can also help you sharpen your senses and heighten your concentration.
Since Trataka meditation involves focusing on something external, such as a candle flame, it can be a good place to start for beginners. If your life is loud and stressful, why not search out moments of quiet?
Trataka meditation might be exactly what you need.
Related article: How to Develop a Habit of Daily Meditation