By Kreg Weiss, B HKin • June 6th, 2006 • 6686 Views
Trataka is the practice of External Gazing. Your eyes are the windows of the soul and inner self. Trataka is a technique devised by ancient sages to improve and sustain good eyesight, to promote healthy immunity for the eyes, and to establish a foundation for meditation. As a shuddhikriya, or purification, Trataka cleanses the eyesight. By fixing one's gaze externally in Trataka, the impulses of the sensory and motor nerves coordinate which help in producing a state of calmness and concentration.
To perform Trataka:
1) Sit tall with your spine balanced and light.
2) Begin by moving the eyes, without moving the head, taking your eyes up and down, side to side, and through various diagonal movements. Allow the eye muscles time to strengthen by holding the eyes at the far end of each movement.
3) Into Trataka, set the eyes on an object without blinking. Your eyelids are slightly more open than usual. The object can be a flame of a candle, an image, or the letter "AUM". The object should be placed approximately six feet away in your horizontal line of sight. Keep the eyes and attention fixed on that object until tears begin to stream down the face.
4) Relax the eyes and slowly close visualizing the object or letter "AUM". Welcome in the concentration as you call upon a clear mental image of the object. Re-open the eyes to re-establish the image in your mind, and repeat several times.
5) Ending this exercise, slowly close the eyes and roll gently a few times in various directions. Then, close the eyes, contracting the muscles around the eyes, and then relax them completely. You can freshen the eyes afterwards by rinsing them carefully and gently with cold water.
Start with Trataka lasting for about one minute. Gradually, with regular and systematic practice, the eyes and concentration will strengthen allowing you to increase the duration of the exercises. As you increase the duration of Trataka, insure that you still exercise the eyes gently. As an introduction to meditation, maintain an inner gaze during the exercise encouraging thoughts to not form. If the mind insists on wandering, give the mind permission to flow, watching and digesting without judgment what thoughts transpire. Overtime, your mental practice will improve, thoughts will arise less...