Trataka is a Sanskrit word, which means “to look” or “to gaze.” Trataka is one of the six purification techniques, called shatkarmas, of Hatha yoga. Trataka involves focusing the eyes on one point. However, a flame is believed to work best. The steadiness of the gaze is directly related to steadiness and concentration of mind and by steadying the eyes you are automatically relaxing and concentrating the mind.
The first stage of meditation is concentration, or ‘dharana’. One of the most direct, simple and effective methods of establishing concentration is Trataka (‘steady gazing’).
Brain and eyes are the most complex organ in the body. Eyes contain more than 200 million working parts. They are also the fastest muscle in your body; sight is arguably the most powerful sense. 80% of all sensory data we process comes through our vision.
Our eyes are constantly making microscopic jerking movements called microsaccades, because of that; optical nerves are never in rest. Yogis suggested the practice of gazing in one point to still constant jerk movements of eyeballs which in result stills the mind. Our eyes and breathing patterns directly influence our mental and emotional state.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is also based on same principle, which is a therapeutic modality for treating trauma.
Trataka can be done through these simple steps –
Sit in any comfortable position with erect spine and head
Light the candle and put it arms length away at eye level
Now gaze the flame of candle without blinking the eyes (try not to blink) as long as possible.
Do it as long you can do it if the tears come let them come
Note if you experience headache, dizziness or any other discomfort with it stop it for a while. Don’t push yourself much.
Trataka Benefits: Still Eyes, Still Mind
Additional benefits of trataka include:
- Strengthens eye muscles
- Purifies the eyes
- Treats eye disorders
- Relieves insomnia
- Aids in treating depression
- Improves concentration
- Calms the mind
- Promotes emotional stability
- Boosts willpower
- Develops intuition and clairvoyance