TRATAKA – CANDLE GAZING – A Good beginning practice

Trataka strengthens and cleanses the eyes and also works to cleanse the subconscious mind. It is a practice that is helpful when one has obsessive thoughts. This is a good practice to begin with as it helps you concentrate your mind on an object and learn to work internally with the breath and awareness.

Step 1
Assume a comfortable sitting  posture.
Close your eyes and be aware only of your body and relax.
Make a resolve that you will not move for the entire practice.

Step 2
Open your eyes
Gaze directly at the tip of the wick of the candle.
Try not to blink or move your eyes in any way. Be totally absorbed in the candle flame and the wick. As thoughts come in be aware of them but then remind yourself that you are practicing trataka. 3 minutes

Step 3
Practice ujjayi pranayama at the same time and throughout the rest of the practice.
Imagine that while breathing in that you are drawing your breath from the candle flame to the eyebrow center and through to the back of the head.
When you breath out imagine tht the breath flows from the back of your head, pierces the eyebrow center and then returns to the candle.
You have to split your awareness so that it is on the flame and on the movement of the breath.
Be aware of the sound of your breath.
Eventually it will feel that the air seems to naturally move along the path between the flame and the back of the head.
Continue for a few minutes, do not strain.

Step 4
Close your eyes and Gaze at the after image of  the flame.
Be aware on the internal image of the flame and the breath.
Inhale and feel the breath moving backwards from the flame in front of the closed eyes to the back of the head, feel that you are drawing the image backwards.
As you breath out imagine that the breath is being pushed forwards toward the closed eyes.
Continue ujjayi breath throughout. You should hear the sound of your breath continuously emerging from the region of the throat. Integrate this sound with the movement of the breath from the eyebrow center to the back of the head.
Continue Step 4 until the image disappears or becomes vague. Keep the eyes closed for for a few minutes and watch the back of the eyelids the black screen and see what images arise.

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