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Concentration with open eyes


Trataka consists of fixing the gaze intensely without blinking on an object, a  small point, until the tears flow.


In Hatha-yoga, Trataka (eye cleansing) is  one of 6  (sat*)  body purification exercises  (kriya) with Dhauti (upper digestive system), Basti (digestive system), Neti (nose), Nauli (abdomen) and  Kapalabhati (lung cleansing)  : blacksmith's breathing)  :  Sat Kriya  *.

*  Sat  also means: to exist; character of what is essential, true, beautiful...

The Kriyas  are Hatha-yoga cleansing techniques performed to remove toxins and prepare for Pranayama or breath work but consult a teacher before attempting to practice these techniques  !
The term "kriya" means: action, performance, work, rite...


We also find the expression "Sat-karma"  to designate these purification exercises.
  (roots  Kar, “action”, and  Ma, “my, my”, literally “my action”) means: execution of..., action (which is prolonged by consequences), operation, ceremony... Karma is better known "philosophically" as: destiny of..., circumstances resulting from acts performed during previous incarnations (accumulation of merits and faults), retribution for previous acts, effective influence... Extensive program  !


Trataka is memory work and prepares for sleep  by stopping mental fluctuations, causes of nervousness, fatigue, anxiety.
Tratak is an important exercise in mastering the mind. In the
  Rāja-yoga  *  , it is a classic basic exercise to acquire concentration (Dhâranâ), to control the mental waves, which can lead to meditation (Dhyâna).


*  Raja yoga,  "royal", "integral" yoga or  Aṣṭāṅga yoga  ("eight-limbed yoga"), is based on the  Yoga Sutra  of  Patanjali.


There are 2 types of Trataka:
- Trataka on a point on the external surface of the body
  : tip of the nose (Nâsâgra drishti),  3rd Eye or Ajna-chakra (Shambhavi mudrâ), etc. 
- Trataka on external objects (point, icon, candle flame, shiny object, crystal ball...)


The focus of the gaze on the flame of the candle

This very popular technique is for everyone, including children, except in cases of eye disease and without glasses or contact lenses.
Practiced most often before going to sleep, it can take place at will during the day, for a moment of relaxation (after
  "tapering"  on a computer, for example), preferably in the dark.

Two phases follow  :

- exterior,  Bahir-trataka, staring at the flame
- interior,
  Antar-trataka, the "inner" gaze on the residual flame


♦ Sit comfortably with your back straight, hands on your knees in the  gesture of unity  (fingers crossed, right thumb on left thumb, see  Hasta-mudrâ), 50-60 cm from a lit candle so that the flame is at eye level.
Place yourself preferably in a circle (with family, friends, etc.)

♦ Close your eyes and relax for a few moments to induce immobility by connecting to your breath: fresh air entering your nostrils when you inhale, warm air coming out when you exhale.
Put the hands in shell on the eyes (palming) then spread the fingers, then the palms, gently.

♦ Open the eyes, the hands return to the knees.
Stare intensively at the small glowing point of the wick (without blinking if possible)
Fixing the gaze on a single point is called
  Ekagrata  (eka  = a)

♦ As soon as the eyes tingle or tears appear, close your eyes and watch for the lingering appearance of the flame in the "space between the eyebrows", behind the forehead.
Observe it as a "spectator", maintain your "inner gaze".

♦ When the image disappears (or if your mind begins to wander) open your eyes and start looking at the flame again. Then close your eyes again.

♦ Continue the process as much time as you have, but if possible  at least 10-15  minutes.  However, no more than 3 times in a row.

♦ Finish by keeping your eyes closed for a few moments (before getting ready for the night if you practice in the evening)

If you have placed cupped hands over your eyes, gently remove them horizontally,  D  to R and L to L.
Move your head to R slowly, come back to the front, then turn it to the L, still slowly, then
  come back from the front. Blink your eyelids during these movements.


Another candlelight version

Use this exercise to bring focus to your mind and calm your mind.

  Stand in front of a candle at arm's length and at eye level.

  Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed on the floor or your feet on the floor in a chair. Keep your back straight during the exercise.

  Light the candle and check that the flame is stable.

  Without blinking, now look at the end of the wick that corresponds to the base of the flame, do not look at the flame.

Focus on the wick for the next few moments.

  When your eyes begin to dim, dry, or water, close them and observe the image of the flame that naturally appears in the space behind the eyelids.

If the image moves, try to stabilize it.

  When the image disappears and it is impossible to keep it, open your eyes and focus again on the flame of the candle.

Repeat the exercise 3-4 times, no more.

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