When I first moved to Melbourne from Sydney even though its only 888kms further south, in winter the days are noticeably shorter and in summer they seem considerably longer. These long winter periods inspired me to make Tratak a regular winter practice for the evening classes.
Tratak is a candle gazing meditation practice.
Read all about it on the Yoga in Daily Life International website > here.
Its one of the Hatha Yoga Kriyas and also features as part of Level 4 Yoga in Daily Life Self Enquiry Meditation.
Learn to Practice Tratak
ask your teacher to include it in your class
What people we know say about tratak
Anecdotal information that our regular yoga students have reported as a result of practicing tratak are:
- increased concentration and capacity to remember which was very helpful for exams
- better sleep; meaning waking less during the night and feeling refreshed in the morning
- improved stillness and focus in meditation
Tratak & Meditation
Tratak is popular is because it is a tactile technique to help strengthen concentration. Having something physical to look upon, practicing to maintain a steady gaze both upon the flame and its inner reflection works well for many people as a technique to cease the mind from wandering in multiple directions. Having said that, it’s not easy to achieve the balance between being focused and relaxed at the same time. It’s an effortless one pointed concentration. Like with many yoga practices it’s the effort of the practice that brings the benefits, so it does not matter if on some days it is more challenging to stay focused than others.
The multiple benefits of creating this inner balance between being focused and relaxed include:
- what has been mentioned in the anecdotal information above
- less symptoms of stress
- reduced nervousness & anxiety
- greater productivity
- developing clearer thinking & decision making
- quietening thoughts
- mental openness & creativity
- stronger will power
Tratak & the Pineal Gland
After class one Wednesday evening recently we wandered about the influence that gazing upon the candle light might have. Please note that a candle light is a gentle light that will not harm the eyes, in fact it's good for the eyes, but do not practice on the direct sun.
According to research conducted by Swami Samyasananda Saravati (an inspiring yogi & neuroscientist) it is the gazing at the candle (or flower, photo, symbol) that produces the effect in tratak. The gazing can produce more melatonin via the pineal gland but only if the practice is done in the early evening (daytime practice has different effects.) he says.
Some of the tasks an effectively functioning pineal gland & melatonin do include:
- balances the sleep / wake rhythm. Quality sleep is vital as it is the chance our body has for rejuvenating and healing.
- improves our immune system
- cyctotoxic (kills cancer cells)
- fatigue fighter
- boosts energy
- helps against Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- naturally elevates our mood
- helps alleviate depression & the aging process
- improves endocrine health
Tratak & The Agya Chakra
The Agya Chakra is situated at the eyebrow centre, and is therefore known as the third eye. The practice of tratak is recommended for awakening the agya chakra. Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda describes beautifully in his book “The Hidden Powers in Humans – Chakras & Kundalini” that the Agya chakra is the centre of wisdom & clarity. It is the seat of the inner master, our higher, pure knowledge, intuition & viveka (discrimination). There is a whole chapter in this book on the agya chakra worth reading.
This article is a brief introduction. It is said “an ounce of practice is better than tons of theory”. Be inspired to practice tratak! Just a reminder to ask your teacher about practicing this in class so you can learn the technique and experience the benefits yourself.
- The Hidden Powers in Humans – Chakras & Kundalini by Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda
- Yoga in Daily Life - The System by Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda
- Conversations with Swami Samyasananda Sarasvati