What is Trataka or Candle Flame Meditation?
Trataka meditation is probably one of the simplest forms of meditation I have ever practiced, and yields some of the greatest results I have personally seen. To practice: Find a small candle and bring it to eye level (about 12-24 inches from the face) and gaze into the flame. The first and maybe second time you practice this close your eyes and allow yourself to take in the images as soon as you blink. As you practice this more, allow yourself to gaze into the flame even after you blink. Once your eyes begin to water and burn a little bit, close your eyes and take in the imagery. When you open your eyes turn the gaze to a living plant or flower, or maybe a wall around you, but not immediately back to the flame.
Why practice this?
This practice is important, and for me personally it is pivotal for opening the pineal gland or third eye. This practice provides a feeling of bliss, improved sight, a relaxed state of mind, enhanced and clearer thinking, and a deeper knowledge of self and one’s own thoughts.
How does this work?
The light and heat emitted from the candle flame generates energy in the brain and pineal glad as it is taken in by the eyes.
Practicing Nadi Shodhana before beginning
Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing greatly enhances the effectiveness of this meditation by balancing the opposite sides of the brain, and the intake of breath through each nostril. This breathing technique is particularly beneficial for this time of year as we become quickly imbalanced with the change of seasons, and congested with the various illnesses and allergies circulating. So how is this done? Arrive in a comfortable seated position, placing the left hand on the left knee in chin mudra (see below), the right hand will come into vishnu mudra (see below). Close the right nostril with the right thumb and breath in through the left nostril, close the left nostril with the right ring finger and breath out through the right nostril. Breath in through the right nostril, seal the right nostril with the right thumb and breath out through the left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat this for about 10 cycles.