Nowadays, meditation continues to gain popularity. About 14.2% of Americans had tried meditation in 2017 to help them feel centered and relaxed during their day. Among the different types of meditation, a specific form of meditation called tratak provides many benefits. But what is tratak and how to do tratak?
“Trataka” or “Tratak” originates from yogic language (Sanskrit), meaning “to look” or “to gaze steadily” at some pointed object absorbing the eyes efficiently and focusing the mind. The object can be a light source, such as candle flame, an image of self in a mirror, or a black dot on a white wall.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about tratak, its benefits, how to perform tratak properly, and the different types of tratak.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Tratak?
- 2 How to Do Tratak With a Candle?
- 3 Benefits of Trataka
- 4 What are the Different Types of Tratak?
What Is Tratak?
Trataka means “to gaze steadily.” The practice of Trataka is also similar to mindful meditation from ancient yogic visual concentration practices. In general, people practice Tratak sitting in a blackened room and staring at a fixed point (known as “candle Trataka” or “flame Trataka”) for several minutes, without blinking while breathing deeply, until tears run down your cheeks.
This way of practicing Tratak is the most common, called the “external” concentration of Trataka.
How to Do Tratak With a Candle?
- Sit comfortable meditative posture in front of a candle.
- Position the candle about an arm’s length away from you with the wick of the candle at the same height as your chest.
- Be careful; if the candle is placed too high, it can create tension at your eyebrow center or produce a burning sensation in your eyes. The flame should not be moving in a draft but stays still.
- Close your eyes and set an intention or breathe gently to relax the body and develop stillness.
- Keep your eyes open and look at the flame without blinking.
- The flame has 3 zones of color:
- Reddish color at the base of the wick
- Bright white in the middle
- Slightly smoky at the tip
- Try to focus on the upper part of the flame where it is brightest.
- Close your eyes again. If the flame image appears within, slowly and gently focus on that image without creating any tension. Also, try not to pursue or hold onto the image; otherwise, it will fade and disappear.
- Repeat this exercise at least 3 times.
- Gradually increase your practice time. In the initial stages, look at the flame only for about 10-15 seconds. And gradually and slowly increase your time so that after.
- You can also practice Trataka while looking at a white point on black paper or a black point on white paper.
Benefits of Trataka
Trataka (AKA third eye meditation) is one of the various meditation techniques, mainly concerned with the third eye, Ajna chakra, the command center. Also, Trataka is part of Hatha Yoga.
With the increasing scientific interest in yoga, meditation, and other ancient relaxation practices, a few studies have investigated the benefits of Trataka and its effects on the body and mind.
Practicing Tratak Reduces Anxiety and Depression
After one month of regular practice, people who practice Trataka meditation show a reduction in scores on anxiety, depression, and tension surveys found in a study.
Trataka May Help Improve Short-term Memory, Cognitive Performance, And Working Memory
The research concluded that older women who did Trataka improved cognitive performance, short-term memory, selective and focused attention, and working memory.
Trataka can be used as a way to enhance cognition in the elderly, according to a study.
Trataka May Help Improve Sleep Quality
Since practicing Tratak helps reduce depression and anxiety, it will help sleep better. Practicing this a few minutes before sleep can improve the quality of sleep. It deepens sleep and may alleviate sleep-related disorders, including headaches, insomnia, and nightmares.
Other Benefits of Trataka
- It helps calm your anxious mind. Practicing Tratak helps disconnect with external noise and distract you from the outer world.
- It might be an excellent method to prepare for meditation.
- It may heighten patience, willpower, and self-confidence.
- It might bring greater clarity to the mind and improve decision-making ability.
- It might help to develop concentration and also improves memory.
- It may allow you to be more intuitive, highly conscious, and aware of your surroundings.
- It may be an effective way of activating your energy centers (chakras).
- Trataka is an excellent exercise for a wandering mind and helping you concentrate.
What are the Different Types of Tratak?
There are three most common types of Trataka.
Antar Trataka ( AKA Inner Trataka)
You perform this type of Trataka with your eyes closed.
To practice this type of Trataka, close your eyes, focus on any symbol or point and imagine that you are gazing in the midpoint of your two eyebrows, heart, navel, or any other internal organ.
Madhya Trataka (Middle Trataka)
Contrarily to Antar Trataka, you practice Madhya Trataka with your eyes open.
To practice Madhya Trataka, gaze steadily on the center of the eye(bhrumadhya), the tip of the nose(nasagra), or any nearby object made of any material. You can also use concentric circles with a black dot in its middle, candle flame, or a single black dot with open eyes.
Bahya Trataka (Outer Trataka)
Bahya Trataka is a type of Trataka that you can practice any time of the day or night.
To practice Bahya Trataka, focus your eyes and attention on any distant object such as the rising sun, the moon, or the stars.
Tips for Beginners
- During your Tratak practice, stay calm and patient.
- Do not practice Tratak for more than 10-15 minutes.
- Do not practice Tratak on an empty stomach (but not completely empty).
- Splash cold water on your eyes after each Tratak practice.
- Practice Tratak in the morning if possible.
- Choose a serene and peaceful environment.
- Make your Tratak practices consistent and regular.
- Practice mindfulness exercises or Yoga Nidra to get better at detaching yourself from your thoughts more frequently.
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Choose yoga mat – see this article on the 9 best Yoga Mat for bad knees and make your practice more Blissful.
Trataka is a yogic purification and a tantric practice of meditation involving staring at a single point such as a candle flame, small object, or black dot.
Once you learn how to do tratak, this practice can lead to tremendous health benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression, improving short-term memory, cognitive performance, working memory, and enhancing sleep quality.