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Meditation Technique to Clean and Heal the Eyes

Meditation Technique to Clean and Heal the Eyes

If you’ve ever been transfixed by a candle flame and felt your mind clear, you may have been tapping into a yogic focusing practice called trataka. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika defines trataka as “looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed.” This simple technique has a purifying, invigorating effect on the mind and improves concentration, paving the way for a deeper meditation practice. Because it is one of the shat kriyas, or six cleansing actions, trataka also cleans and heals the eyes.

Though many objects can be used to focus your gaze during trataka, the most common is the flame of a candle. Assume a comfortable meditative posture with your head, neck, and trunk aligned. Set a candle two feet in front of you, with the flame positioned at eye level. Make sure the room is dark and draft-free.

STEADY YOUR GAZE

Begin with your eyes closed, surveying the body and watching the breath until it becomes calm, regular, and even. Then open your eyes and rest your gaze on the middle part of the flame, right above the tip of the wick. Keep your eyelids slightly more open than usual, and maintain your gaze without blinking or blurring your vision for as long as possible. Observe any thoughts that arise, watching them come and go without becoming engaged.

Close your eyes only when they begin to strain and water, and you can no longer sustain the gaze. (You can cup your palms and place them gently over the eyes to ease the strain, but do not rub the eyes; because the tears you have shed are carrying away impurities, wipe them gently with a tissue.) Then find the afterimage of the flame in your mind’s eye, resting your awareness at the ajna chakra, or eyebrow center. If the image moves up and down or side to side, stabilize it by bringing it back to the center, and continue to fix your gaze until the impression disappears. To delve deeper into the mind, you can follow this practice with meditation.

HEALTHY GLOW

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Trataka eradicates all eye diseases, fatigue, and sloth, and closes the doorway creating these problems. In addition to improving concentration and memory, trataka cleanses both the eyes and the cerebral cortex, balances the nervous system, and relieves depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Another yogic text, the Gheranda Samhita, states that the practice cultivates clairvoyance and inner vision.

Because sight, mental discrimination, and the fire at the manipura chakra are intricately interwoven, trataka also nourishes the subtle flame at the navel center, promoting vitality and inner health. In its more advanced form, as the Himalayan master Swami Rama said, “The practice of trataka eventually merges into surya sadhana, meditation on the solar energy.”

STARING AT THE SUN

Under the guidance of a teacher, you can learn how to use a variety of auspicious objects or symbols as the focus of your gaze during trataka, such as a yantra (a symbolic geometric representation of aspects of Divinity), the symbol Om, the form of a deity, lightning, the moon, your own shadow, or the glowing orange orb of the rising or setting sun. So steady your gaze, and follow the light all the way to your inner self.

Natalya Podgorny is the editor of Yoga + Joyful Living

Read more: Spirit, Alternative Therapies, Exercises, Natural Remedies, Self-Help, , , , , , ,

By Natalya Podgorny, Yoga+

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Yoga International is an award-winning, independent magazine that contemplates the deeper dimensions of spiritual life--exploring the power of yoga practice and philosophy to not only transform our bodies and minds, but inspire meaningful engagement in our society, environment, and the global community.

13 comments

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11:04PM PST on Mar 3, 2013

interesting info

9:56PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

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4:16AM PST on Feb 1, 2010

thank you very much for that article. It seems to be very useful for me as well as comments here. Thank you.

11:11AM PST on Jan 10, 2010

thanks useful

1:23PM PST on Jan 8, 2010

I love candlelight. Anyway I thank you for sharing this meditation technique as I have not found one yet that I can do for even 10 minutes and maybe this will work for me.

10:34PM PST on Jan 3, 2010

Interesting!

8:04AM PST on Dec 13, 2009

I have got to try this. I constantly have eye strain. My eyes burn for no apparent reason. I use a lot of eye drops, that cannot be as good for my eyes as natural tears. I am going to do it tomorrow and see it I can make the cleansing tears happen. If I can, I plan to make it part of my morning routine.

11:16PM PST on Dec 10, 2009

I used to do that years ago. What happens is after a minute or more, you cry. It is exactly like when you are crying but without the emotions. There are many different kinds of meditation. I do one that is called Self-Knowledge.

One M.D. found that while meditating, your breathing and heart rate become slower than when you are sleeping. So meditation creates a unique physiological state that does not exist at other times.

6:40AM PST on Nov 29, 2009

:-)

12:01AM PST on Nov 4, 2009

Thank you for the great ideas! Something I have also found helpful was pranayama (breathwork). By practicing alternate nostril breathing you will open nadis or energy channels allowing recovery (and more importantly future illness). Do forget that most meat and some sugars cause “sludge” to form in the energy system, causing mucous and “sludge” to form. By rarely eating diets high in meats you will support a clean vital body and constitution.


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Amazing any of us actually make it to adulthood.

He was a wonderful person who will be sorely missed. Prayers and healing to his family and friends.

Good information for soda-lovers, thanks :)

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