Trataka Kriya to Build Concentration
If you are looking for quick yoga practice that will improve your concentration and calm your mind, then Trataka Kriya is the answer. Hatha Yoga Pradipika defines Trataka as “Looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed”.
This simple practice can clear the mind, strengthen the eye muscles, and improve vision and memory. You can practice Trataka Kriya either by focussing on a flame or a white point on a black sheet (or a black point on a white sheet). Here we will learn how to practice it using a flame.
How to perform Trataka
Step 1: Sit in any comfortable meditative posture in a dark room with no to minimum light.
Step 2: Place a candle in front of you, about 3 feet away. The height of the wick should be at your eye level or slightly below. If the candle is placed higher than eye level or too close to you, then you may get a headache or experience pain in the eyes. Do not light the candle yet.
Step 3: Close your eyes. Slowly move your eyeballs up and down. Repeat for 10 counts, then rest your eyes for 15 seconds. Continue to keep your eyes shut.
Step 4: Move your eyeballs to the right and then to the left. Repeat for 10 counts on each side, then rest your eyeballs for 15 seconds. Continue to keep your eyes shut.
Step 5: Rotate your eyeballs clockwise for 5 counts, then rest them for 15 seconds. Don’t open your eyes yet.
Step 6: Rotate your eyeballs anti-clockwise for 5 counts, then rest them for 15 seconds. Continue keeping your eyes closed.
Step 7: Now, open your eyes and light the candle. Make sure that there is no wind in the room and the flame is absolutely still. Gaze at the tip of the flame for as long as you can. Start with 10-15 seconds. Then close your eyes for one minute.
Step 8: Check if you can see the image of the flame with your eyes closed. Do not force yourself to imagine it or, if you see the flame, do not try to focus on it. Just observe.
Step 9: Repeat gazing at the candle and then shutting eyes two more times.
Points of note while practising Trataka:
- If you practice this kriya for a year, you will be able to gaze for one minute continuously. Under no circumstances should you exceed one minute.
- Tears may roll out of your eyes, and this is fine. However, if you experience a headache or too much pressure on your eyes, then close your eyes for 30 seconds.
- Find the after-image of the flame that you see in your mind; keep your awareness centred on Ajna chakra or between your eyebrows.
- If you do not see the after-image of the flame, that is fine. Do not force the image.
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