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This study was carried out to investigate the effect of  Trataka  (yoga technique) on the  mental relaxation  by registration  α-rhythm of the brain  using  EEG  (electroencephalogram). 
For this purpose, a group of 50 young men (Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya graduates and undergraduates, Haridwar, India) aged between 18 and 25 were chosen. All participants practiced regularly
  Trataka  before going to bed, for 25 days. To record the data we used the α-wave EEG using the back link. It has been found that the practice of  Kriya-Trataka  greatly promotes the  mental relaxation.


The foreword

Stress, anxiety and mental restlessness are part of everyday life. We can feel stress everywhere. College students face stress due to their courses, employees - in their workplace or office. And all of these people seek to avoid various types of mental stress.

Among the many practices of  yoga, such as  asanas, pranayama, mudras et al, many can reduce stress in the individual;  Tratakaen is one of them.

  "Trataka" means "looking still." Trataka is one of the six cleansing actions described in the  Hatha Yoga Pradipika, verse 2.22 (Gharote & Kokaje, 1976). 
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  defines the process as follows:

Trataka  is known as a technique of gazing fixed (without blinking) on a small point, until tears appear - HYP verse 2:31

The technique can be performed using a variety of objects, such as a blackhead, whitehead, candle flame, rising sun, moon, star, deep calm dark water from a river or d 'a pond.  Trataka  cures eye diseases and laziness.

(Trataka  eliminates all eye diseases, fatigue and laziness, and closes the way to their appearance. The technique must be kept secret.) - dixit HYP Verse 02:32

Trataka  is useful not only for the eyes, but also for the entire spectrum of mental health and mental functions. It has a therapeutic effect on depression, insomnia, allergies, lack of concentration and poor memory. The strongest influence is on  Ajna  chakra and the brain. According to  Gheranda Samhita, she also develops the capacity for clairvoyance, or the perception of subtle manifestations.

There is evidence from several experiments showing that during Trataka exercise there is an increase in recognition activity (sensor detection) (Pratap, 1974) and better results are obtained for the test of word association (WAT-test) (Goreetal., 1990). 

These studies show that the free flow of thought flow can pave the way for the release of complexes and deep memories. From these studies, we can conclude that  Trataka  leads to an increase in attention (Bhogal and Bera, 2004). 
All of the study participants freed themselves from their neurotic conditions and regained mental stability and relaxation. These studies suggest that the way of working on attention during
  Trataka  stimulates the brain's ability to process information more efficiently.

After studying the sources mentioned above, it seems that the practice of  Trataka  could be helpful in improving mental relaxation. Thus, we formulate the hypothesis of the study:

"The practice of Trataka significantly increases the level of mental relaxation."




The choice of participants:

The study was conducted on 50 participants. All were graduates and/or undergraduates (only teenagers) of Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar.


Study Plan:

Do the necessary research on a test group before and after the experimental study.

We used the variables: A-Q1-X-Q2, i.e.:

  • A = a group

  • Q1 = measurement before practice

  • X = Trataka practice (25 days)

  • Q2 = measurement after practice


Research tools:

To measure the dependent variable in this research, we used the  α-EEG. Electroencephalography has been used to measure α-waves in the human brain. During the  meditation, at the beginning of the  relaxation, the quantity of the α-waves increases, which can be easily measured by  EEG.


The test protocol:

Before the start of the study, we measured the level of  mental relaxation  of each participant using α-EEG, and then, after a 25-day practice of  Trataka, this measurement was repeated in the same participants. 
During the first 5 days of practice of
  Trataka, each participant exercised it for only 5 minutes. After the first 5 days the practice time was increased to 10 minutes for the next 10 days; and the last 10 days of the study, participants were allowed to practice for 15 minutes a day under the supervision of an expert. All the participants during the practice took the same vegetarian food and lived under the same conditions.


Results and discussion

Hypothesis  : The practice of  Trataka  significantly increases the  level of mental relaxation.

Here is the table showing the measurement of mental relaxation before and after the practice:



It is clear from this graph that the practice of  Trataka  greatly increased the level of  mental relaxation  among study participants. Thus, the hypothesis by which "the practice of Trataka significantly increases the level of mental relaxation" is confirmed.

The table above shows the BEFORE result which equals 6.53, while the AFTER value equals 11.53. When the test subjects did not perform the practice  Trataka, the amount of alpha waves  were smaller, but after 25 days of practice all participants were found to have no tension or anxiety, and regained their emotional stability.

In fact, the practice  Trataka  has an important action on the  Ajna chakra, located between the eyebrows, which is also associated with the pituitary gland. Pituitary gland - which is an endocrine gland, regulating the work of other endocrine glands. When we focus on  Ajna Chakra  when practicing  Trataka, Ajna chakra (pituitary gland) activates. By the practice of  Trataka, the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland influence other endocrine glands, which in turn act on our entire body. If the pituitary gland works properly, all the other glands work equally well, which, in turn, contributes to the proper functioning of the physical and mental body, and relieves tension.

During nighttime sleep, the pituitary gland secretes the hormone melatonin, which inhibits the activation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls an individual's anxiety. This is why we feel rested in the morning. A similar process occurs during  Trataka. The melatonin produced during  trataka practice  eliminates tension and anxiety, it makes a person feel relaxed, calm and peaceful.

Many researchers have proven the effectiveness of  Trataka, which reduces stress, anxiety, etc. In 1990, researchers MM Gore, RS Bhogal and MN Raja Pukar offered the practice of Trataka to 10 healthy women. All participants learned to relax deeply, as well as to experience emotional stability and a sense of happiness. According to Pratap et al. (1974). the  Trataka practitioners  can control feelings of hostility and internal conflict.

Based on the above facts, we can conclude that  Trataka Kriya  plays an important role in improving mental relaxation in people.


From this study, it appears that  Trataka  has a positive effect on mental relaxation. The practice of it significantly increases the level of mental relaxation in students, and prevents the occurrence of over-tension, stress and anxiety.



Note from Aleks  Papin  :

In the part "Results and discussion" there are a number of inaccuracies regarding the work of the endocrine glands. For example, according to the article, the hormone  melatonin  is produced in the pituitary gland. However, one fact confirms that melatonin is produced in the pineal gland.
Also, it is not entirely correct to state that the pituitary controls all of the pituitary endocrine glands - some of them (pancreatic gland) are not part of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

Nevertheless, specific and objective measures of the EEG alpha-rhythm  represent a certain scientific value, as well as their (α-waves) differences before and after the course of  Trátaka-kriya  among the participants.

Some facts from the discussion of the research results, in my opinion, rather make an attempt to discover the relationship between the physiological processes of the human body and the perceptions of the philosophy of  yoga, which will undoubtedly stimulate new studies on this subject.








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Authors: Sharma, Vikas Kumar; Tyagi, Brajbhushan, Yoga Mimamsa Vo.l XLII No.2: 97-102, July 2010
Translated by: Aleksei Papin

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