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Trataka

Updated: Nov 1, 2020


Each November when we experience the end of Daylight Saving Time, we light candles to make the increase in darkness feel more friendly. Trataka is an easy meditation technique utilizing a candle flame. Trataka means “gaze” in Sanskrit, the language of yoga.

Our eyes are second only to the brain as the most complex organ in the body. Since almost half of our brain is dedicated to vision, our eyes are a direct pathway to calm the mind. This meditation technique uses the sense of sight to still our chattering mind. Imagine a rainforest filled with chattering, screeching monkeys swinging endlessly through the forest. That is our “monkey” mind—feel familiar?

Here’s how it works: Sit comfortably in a quiet, dark, warm place. Light a candle, and focus your gaze on the flickering flame. Relax your face. While the ancient practice involved gazing at the flame “without blinking until tears are shed,” I don’t find this is very comfortable. Go ahead and blink, but make your blinking deliberate and slow. Try to refrain from blinking until you really need to. Then gently blink as if your eyelids are shades that you are pulling down softly and lifting up slowly.

Not only does several minutes of this meditation calm your mind, but with practice


it may also help you to connect with your inner wisdom and intuition. The eyes are considered to be the windows to our soul. We all have the innate ability to connect with our soul’s wisdom; we just may need a tool like Trataka to help calm and focus our mind to find the wisdom that is there waiting for us.

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