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Trataka: one pointed concentration

How to do Trataka – concentrated gazing

I believe if something comes on your path over and over again you have to do something with it. Trataka – concentrated gazing has crossed my path a few times lately, so for the last few days I have incorporated it in my daily practice.

I visited a Ayurvedic doctor out here in India a while ago, together with Sampoorna’s photographer Leyla. We wanted to know what dosha (body type) we were. The doctor diagnosed us and sent us a report with some advice what to do and what to eat. Trataka was one of the things he advised me. Two weeks later I did a class with Rachel Berryman. She started the class off with Trataka. About a week ago, I spoke to Sudhir Rishi – our philosophy and meditation teacher – and guess what he advised me…

Trataka is sometimes seen as a meditation technique, but more often as a preparation for (deep) meditation. Trataka means concentrated gazing or one pointed gazing. Sanskrit is easy. It is precisely that: concentrated gazing. There are a lot of ways you can do it. The most used one is focusing on the burning flame of a candle.

How to do Trataka

  • Light a candle and place it so that the flame is exactly at eye level
  • Make sure the flame is protected from droughts so it remains steady
  • Sit down in a comfortable posture with spine and head straight
  • Make sure the flame is about an arms length away from your eyes
  • Close your eyes and relax them and relax the rest of your body
  • When you feel relaxed you can open your eyes again and gaze steadily and without blinking at the flame
  • Keep your awareness on the flame. When your mind begins to wander, bring it back to the practice
  • When your eyes become tire or begin to water – after a minute or two – you can close them slowly.
  • Now – with closed eyes – stare at the imprint the flame has left in front of your eyes
  • When this image is fading, bring it back
  • If you can’t call it back anymore, stare at the flame one more time
  • Repeat this process three more times
  • After the last time the image has faded wrap your hands together, creating some heat. Place your warm hands over your eyes and open your eyes in the warmth of your hands. Slowly bring your hands down

Benefits of Trataka

  • Makes the eyes clear and bright
  • Balances the nervous system
  • Relieves nervous and mental tension
  • Improves the memory and helps to develop a good concentration
  • Will help you sleep if you suffer from insomnia

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