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Candle Gazing (Trataka)

Candle Gazing is a form of meditation that is done with the eyes open. It is also known as Trataka (focus on a single object). 

 

This is considered easier for a lot of people as in the darkness of eyes closed there is no distraction and fears and worries tend to come to the surface. Candle gazing for many is a more accessible avenue to quieting and focusing the mind through the use of an external object.

Some of the benefits of Candle Gazing are:

- improve focus, concentration and memory

- alleviate stress

- spark creative thoughts

- unlock answers you may be looking for through stillness

- deepen sleep/ alleviate sleep issues

- purification of the Anja chakra (third eye) helping you tune into your intuition

It can also help to strengthen and rejuvenate the eyes keeping them healthier for longer! If this is interesting to you, I've also added exercises below that you can do to improve your overall eye health further on down the page. 

Note: Place the candle at a distance of about 1 metre from you so that the light is not too intense for the eye. Stare at the flame but also notice around it, the candle stick, the wick, the holder - everything and anything about the object and its aura.

Introduction to Candle Gazing...

Exercises to Strengthen your Eyes

Exercises

Here are six simple practices to strengthen the muscles around your eyes. You can do them on their own or before or after candle gazing.

We want to isolate the eyes so try your best to keep the head and neck completely still throughout these exercises.

If you find it difficult to move the eyes easily you may hold your hand out in front and use your thumb to guide you as a point of focus - see what works best for you.

Exercise #1 - Up & Down


Sit up tall whether in a chair or in a meditative pose.

 

Take a deep inhale and steady your gaze forward (onto the thumb if you're using it).

 

Find stillness as you settle in on the exhale.

 

Begin to move your eyes up as you inhale and down as you exhale (remember to keep the head and neck still).

 

Slow your breath so that your eye movements are also slow and controlled and you may even find you can hold your gaze up or down for a second each way.

Repeat this 10 times (10 up & 10 down) and then bring the palms over your eyes and apply a little bit of pressure to give your eyes some rest.

Exercise #2 - Right & Left

Starting the same as the first exercise, sit up tall whether in a chair or in a meditative pose.

 

Take a deep inhale and steady your gaze forward (onto the thumb if you're using it).

 

Find stillness as you settle in on the exhale.

 

Begin to move your eyes right as you inhale and left as you exhale (remember to keep the head and neck still).

 

Slow your breath so that your eye movements are also slow and controlled and you may even find you can hold your gaze right and left for a second each way.

Repeat this 10 times (10 right & 10 left) and then bring the palms over your eyes and apply a little bit of pressure to give your eyes some rest.

Exercise #3 - Right-Up & Left-Down
 

Begin this exercise as you have done the others!

 

Now we will move our eyes diagonally: up to the right and down to the left.

 

Try to do this without blinking and of course, without moving your head and repeat each direction 10 times finishing with your palms pressed over the eyes.

Exercise #4 - Left-Up & Right-Down


This time, we repeat the diagonal eye movements as before however, this time we go up to the left and down to the right.

 

10 repetitions, with your eyes in each position for at least one second. Finish by giving yourself relief through pressure of the palms against your eye sockets for as long as you feel its needed.

Exercise #5 - Clockwise Rotation


The easiest way to do this is to think of a clock in front of you and focus your gaze on where the number 12 would be (at the top centre), take an inhale and as you exhale move your eyes around to where the 3 would be and then to the 6. As you inhale move your gaze towards where the 9 would be and finish the inhale back on 12. 

As always try to slow the breath to slow the movement on the eyes and repeat this 10 times trying your very best not to move the head or neck. Finish always with the sweet relief of your palms pressed gently against the sockets of your eyes.

Exercise #6 - Counter-Clockwise Rotation


As above, it may be easy to use the clock example starting with your gaze fixed at 12 as you take a full inhale. As you exhale, move the gaze through 9 and down to 6 and then as you inhale to 3 and back to 12. Repeat 10 times and then press the palms against your eyes to give them rest.

Once you've completed all 6 exercises (or as many as your comfortable with) give your eyes some time to rest. You may even like to rub the palms together to create heat and then cover the eye sockets for extra comfort. You may also try to gently apply pressure and then release the pressure on the eye sockets like a little massage.

If you doing this prior to your candle gazing meditation, be sure to give your eyes a few minutes to rest before starting trataka.

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