Slowing Down: Trataka -Candle Meditation
Trataka ,Sanskrit for “look” or “gaze", meditation is the act of focusing your eyes on a single candle flame, attempting to bring your full attention to the flame. The practice is meant to calm the senses and focus the mind. When staring at a flame you may notice your eyes water or start to feel fatigued and that’s fine. Blink, wipe your eyes, and close them as needed as you work up to staring longer without needing a break. This is not a staring contest with a candle. You can always blink. A break is when you fully close your eyes or look away from the flame. The amount of time doesn’t matter. See what works for you.
Keys to success:
Put yourself in a comfortable position to be able to stare at the candle without needing to move too much. (You do not need to stay totally still during the meditation, but be comfortable.)
2. If you prefer, choose a scented candle, and you can focus on the scent as well.
3. Dim other lights and reduce other sounds around you, although white noise or
soothing music may be a good fit for you.
4. Light the candle in a clear, safe place, free of fire hazards or damage from
5. When you are staring at the flame, steady your breath. Breath all the way into the
stomach, and make your exhale longer than your inhale.
6. Check in periodically to notice if you are tensing your body anywhere, and soft
that area if you can; especially check your jaw.
7. Bring focused awareness to the activity. Notice the texture, color, and movement
of the flame, the melting of the wax, the heat, smoke,and scent it may be giving
off. Try to notice these without an evaluation, unless of course you notice it is
catching other things on fire, then you need to pause the restorative experience
and take action!
8. You can add an element of intention if you choose. For example, you can recite a
chant, affirmation, or prayer; visualize the light washing over your body and
healing your pain or the pain of others; visualize the flame burning up and
transforming your stress into more sustainable energy, or practice slowing down