How do I do Tratak meditation

Tratak

Tratak (Sanskrit: त्राटक trāṭaka n.) is an eye cleaning exercise and meditation technique or preliminary exercise for concentration, in which by staring at a fixed point, e.g. B. a small object like the flame of a candle, a black point or the like, the one-pointedness (Ekagrata) of the mind is to be achieved. Tratak is one of the six Shatkriyas and is also used in Ayurveda.

The six Shatkriyas (purification exercises) are:

Sukadev via Tratak

Transcription of a lecture video (2014) by Sukadev about Tratak

Tratak is the Hindi word for the Sanskrit word "Trataka". And Trataka means looking, looking at something, fixing the gaze, sometimes it is also referred to as staring.

Tratak also refers to a specific Kriya, i.e. a purification exercise. Tratak means to look at a candle flame for a certain time, then close your eyes and look at the afterimage and look at the candle flame again. It's a simple form of meditation. Tratak, in this sense, is a meditation practice.

If the eyes water with Tratak, then it is a cleansing exercise, a Kriya, which is very helpful for the health of the eyes. You can also practice Tratak on the tip of your nose. You can practice Tratak on the point between the eyebrows. You can also practice Tratak on a god figure or on the face of a master.

Different forms of Tratak, a steady look, will help you create a good inner picture. For example, some people want to know how to make their mind positive in meditation. That goes through Trataka. Look at a candle flame, light will flow through you. Look at the face of your master, you will feel the love of the master and the connection with the master. Look at the image of God, be it as a symbol, like the cross or the crescent moon, the Om sign, be it one of the incarnations, avatars of God, like Krishna or Rama, be it one of the personification of God, like Shiva or Lakshmi . Look there and by looking there feel the power that permeates you.

Trataka, that is, fixation of the gaze. Tratak, a purification exercise, Tratak, a concentration technique, Tratak, an exercise to gain a certain new depth for meditation. Trataka or Tratak literally: look, fixate your gaze, constantly contemplate something.

Tratak basics

Tratak, staring, is an excellent concentration exercise. You first stare at an object or point without blinking. Then you close your eyes and the object appears in the mind's eye.

Effect of Tratak

This practice calms the restless mind, increases alertness, and ultimately leads to the sharpest focus on one point. Wherever the eyes wander, the mind follows, so that in staring at a single point, the mind is drawn in as well. Although Tratak primarily strengthens your focus and purifies the mind, it also improves eyesight and invigorates the brain through the optic nerves.

What to practice Tratak on

Tratak is one of the six purification exercises called kriyas. Tratak is usually done with a candle, but other objects can be chosen as the target of staring. You can draw a black dot on a piece of paper and hang it on the wall or use a chakra or a yantra. Yantras are geometric figures that collect the mind. Like a mantra, each yantra also has a special mystical meaning.

For a change, you can stare at a symbol, such as OM or the image of a deity. You don't have to limit yourself to objects in the room.

During the day a flower or a shell can be the focus of attention, at night the moon or a shining star. As long as the object of concentration doesn't move noticeably and is small enough to stare at, "focusing" will have the desired effect. Yogis often use the point between the eyebrows or the tip of the nose for tratak.

Technique and practice of the Tratak

The technique of the Tratak remains the same regardless of the target point of your gaze, although it is of course slightly modified outside. Place the chosen object about three feet away from you at eye level.

First regulate your breath, then stare at the object without blinking. Don't stare at it blankly - just keep looking at it without overexerting yourself.

After about a minute, close your eyes, and while inwardly holding your gaze, imagine the object in the Ajna Chakra or Anahata Chakra.

As soon as the inner picture disappears, open your eyes and repeat the whole thing.

According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika one should proceed as follows:

"Concentrate on a small object with a fixed gaze - until the tears come."

If an eye does indeed start to water after a brief period of stare, it is simply a sign to close them; gradually you can then lengthen the period of stare.

Progress in Tratak

If your concentration becomes deeper and your gaze more constant, keep your eyes open longer and closed longer, until you have a total of an hour. During the first days of Tratak, unwanted thoughts can creep into the mind. Then simply bring the attention back to the object of concentration and the mind will regain focus. With increasing practice, you will be able to visualize the chosen object more clearly and for longer with your eyes closed.

Stepped on forehead and tip of nose

By staring at the point between the eyebrows - the location of the "third eye" (above) - or at the tip of the nose (below), you not only strengthen your concentration, but also your eye muscles. One minute of staring is enough for the beginning, then you can extend it to ten minutes. You shouldn't strain your eyes; if they tire or hurt, close them immediately.

Staring at the forehead awakens Kundalini, staring at the tip of the nose affects the central nervous system.

Tratak on the OM sign

The sign Om is a very suitable object for Tratak

For a yogi, no symbol is more powerful than the syllable OM, as these words from Mandukya Upanishad prove:

“OM, this Eternal Word is everything; what was, what is and what will be. "

In this Sanskrit symbol the lower, longer curve means the dream state, the upper curve stands for the waking state, the curve coming from the middle symbolizes the dreamless deep sleep. The crescent moon above stands for "Maya", the veil of illusion, the point for transcendence.

When the individual soul steps through the veil and dwells in transcendence, it is freed from the three states and their properties.

When using the Sanskrit symbol OM (top left) for Tratak, slide your eyes over it counterclockwise.

Stepped on a candle

A candle flame is often used as an object for Tratak because the image of the radiant flame is easily projected behind the closed eyes. You should set up the candle at eye level in a dark, draft-free room.

A candle is a popular object for Tratak - the experiences become very deep very quickly

Practical instructions for Tratak meditation

Tratak Meditation - Quick Guide - 8 min.

Tratak Meditation - Long Instructions - 22 min.

Tratak meditation with a soft look - quick guide - 9 min.

Tratak meditation with a soft gaze, thought power and positive thinking - long instructions - 25 min.

Accompanying text for the Tratak meditation - brief instructions

Place a candle in front of you at a distance of 2-5 meters a little below your eye level. Open your eyes and look into the flame without blinking your eyes. It is good for the eyes when they become wet or watery. Stay relaxed. However, if your eyes start to sting or if it becomes somehow uncomfortable, close your eyes. Observe what you then see in your mind's eye: perhaps an afterimage of the flame or different colors and shapes, possibly just darkness. You may also just feel a gentle energy between your eyebrows. Accept everything without expecting anything specifically. When thoughts come, open your eyes and look into the candle flame again.

Practical instructions Tratak meditation for more advanced students

There are a few Tratak meditations that can lead practiced meditators to new experiences.

Tratak mantra meditation with visualization

You can combine mantra meditation with visualization. So you can go particularly deep. For this you need an image of the divine, a so-called murti. A murti can be an abstract symbol: a candle, a cross, an OM sign, a stone or a star. A murti can also be an image of a saint, a figure of a god, a representation of Mary, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Krishna, Rama.

Tratak mantra meditation with visualization of the details

  • Open your eyes. First let your gaze wander over the Murti, slowly from bottom to top, from left to right and repeat the mantra.
  • Close your eyes and imagine the picture in your mind's eye. Make contact with the divine through the spiritual image.
  • Open your eyes and wander over the Murti with your gaze. This time take a look at the details and deepen your contact with the divine.
  • Close your eyes. Color in all the details in your mind's eye, or imagine the Murti as a whole. Feel that you are in divine presence.
  • Open your eyes. Don't let your gaze wander, perceive the Murti as a whole. If necessary, soften your gaze as if you were looking through the Murti. You can imagine perceiving the Murti with your heart, your eyes and with your entire consciousness.
  • Close your eyes. Keep repeating the mantra. Now visualize the same Murti in your mind's eye, maybe you also see an afterimage or the Murti as light. Remain in the divine presence.
  • Open your eyes. Take the Murti as a whole, or stay with a part of the Murti, with the face, with the blessing hand, with the feet or the heart. Repeat the mantra and feel the divine presence from the heart.
  • Close your eyes, but keep the picture upright mentally, and repeat the mantra in the awareness of the divine presence.

Tratak mantra meditation with visualization of the divine presence everywhere

  • Open your eyes and look into the Murti. Repeat the mantra of the divine presence in consciousness.
  • Close your eyes and imagine the Murti. Imagine that the Murti is getting bigger and bigger, as if it is taking up the entire space in front of you. Feel through the mantra and the murti that everything is divine presence before you.
  • Keep your eyes closed or open them briefly to let the picture of the Murti become clearer. Continue to experience the divine presence with the mantra.
  • Imagine that the Murti is on your left and feel the divine presence on the left.
  • Then feel them on the right. If it helps, open your eyes briefly.
  • Imagine that God is behind you and feel the divine presence behind you. Imagine God blessing you from behind.
  • Imagine that the Murti is above you or at an angle in front of you. Imagine flowing into you from the murti, light and divine presence, or opening up to the divine presence as you repeat the mantra.
  • Imagine the Murti in your heart. From the heart this divine blesses you in all aspects of your being. Repeat the mantra in the heart, or let it radiate everywhere from the heart.
  • The Murti is now in your heart, in front of you, behind you, left, right, above, everywhere. Try to get away from the imagination. Expand your awareness and perceive the divine everywhere. Repeat the mantra and consciously send it in all directions. Eventually the verbatim repetition of the mantra is dropped and it continues to vibrate in you without a word.

Tratak mantra meditation with visualization of light in all chakras

  • First look at the Murti. Imagine that light energy flows from the murti to the muladhara chakra. As you repeat the mantra, you breathe light from the murti into the muladhara chakra and exhale upwards. You can keep your eyes open or close.
  • Then you go to the Swadhisthana Chakra. As you repeat the mantra, you breathe light in from the murti into the Swadhisthana chakra and out upwards.
  • You go further to the Manipura Chakra and with your eyes open or closed you breathe light from the Murti into the Manipura Chakra and out upwards.
  • Imagine light and blessing energy flowing from the murti to the anahata chakra. Your heart opens and the blessing energy continues to flow upwards.
  • Open your Vishuddha Charka and let the energy flow upwards from there.
  • In the Ajna Chakra, in the point between the eyebrows, in the middle of the head or in the middle of the forehead, you repeat the same process. You inhale light from the murti into the chakra and exhale upwards.
  • Imagine that you are expanding up to infinity via the Sahasrara Chakra or that the divine flows into you from above, completely filling you. You can imagine the murti above you, or you do not have a concrete visualization and align yourself with the mantra all the way up - in the awareness that everything is divine.

Tratak light meditation for healing and security

Meditation instruction from Swami Nirgunananda

1. Set up a candle and sit about 3 - 5 m away. The candle flame should be a little above eye level. Get into your sitting posture, breathe in and out a few times deeply and consciously. Then open your eyes and look into the candle flame for about 1 - 3 minutes - if possible with a fixed look without blinking; Tratak literally means "to stare". If after a while your eyes start to water, it is a good sign for eye cleaning. But if it burns or is uncomfortable, blink a few times and close your eyes in between. Then open it again and look into the candle flame as motionless as possible.

2. While you look into the candle flame, perceive the essence of the flame, the light: What sensations it awakens in you: light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays ... After about 1 - 3 minutes close your eyes, perceive the afterimage of the flame with your eyes closed and at the same time feel how these properties of the light, the candle flame, become strong in you: golden light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays. Then open your eyes again, look motionless into the flame for 1 - 3 minutes, then close your eyes again and let the light properties that you associate most with the candle flame continue to grow strong in you.

3. Now, with your mindfulness and your awareness, let this flame, the light of the candle and its properties come to life in you.

4. Bring the light to each part of the body. Go to your feet and legs with awareness and let the flame be there. The warm golden light with the inner radiance completely fills your feet and legs, and lets light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays come into this region of the body. Go with awareness to your torso: pelvis, buttocks, abdomen upwards, chest, back and let the flame be there. The warm golden light with the inner radiance completely fills your lower and upper body, and lets light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays come into this body region. With awareness go to your hands and arms up to your shoulders and let the flame be there. The warm golden light with the inner radiance filled your hands and arms completely, and lets light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays come into this body region. With awareness go to your shoulders, neck, neck, face and head and let the flame be there. The warm golden light with the inner radiance completely fills your shoulders, neck, neck, face and head, and lets light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays come into this body region.

5. Feel your whole body now: from the soles of your feet, toes over your hands to your shoulders to the top of your head. Let your whole body be filled with the candle flame. The warm golden light with the inner radiance fills your whole body and lets light, warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays come into the whole body.

6. Every cell of your body, your being is permeated by this flame, stores the golden light with its inner rays; With all pores, with all your mindfulness, concentration and willpower, you absorb this light, the warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays.

7thYou become this flame, this soft, golden, warm light - you ARE the flame, you are pure light, you are warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays.

8. Let this light, the warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love, rays fill you completely.

9. Radiate the light, the warmth, calm, silence, security, peace, love in all directions.

Tratak light meditation to activate energy and light

Meditation instruction from Swami Nirgunananda

Set up a candle and sit about 3 to 5 meters away. The candle flame should be a little above eye level. Get into your sitting posture, breathe in and out a few times deeply and consciously. Then open your eyes and look into the candle flame for about 1 - 3 minutes - if possible with a fixed look without blinking; Tratak literally means "to stare". If after a while your eyes start to water, it is a good sign for eye cleaning. But if it burns or is uncomfortable, blink a few times and close your eyes in between. Then open it again and look into the candle flame as motionless as possible. While you look into the candle flame, let the warmth, the radiance of the flame and the security and security that we associate with candlelight work on you. Take in the warmth, the radiance, the security and security, let yourself be completely penetrated by it. After about 1 - 3 minutes close your eyes and observe the afterimage of the flame with your eyes closed. Keep the feeling and the imagination of this warmth, the radiance, the security and security. Then open your eyes again, look motionless into the flame for 1 - 3 minutes, then close your eyes again.

As you continue to meditate, either keep your eyes closed and focus with your eyes closed on the flame and the qualities of light, warmth and rays. Or you can alternately open your eyes at your own pace, look into the flame for a while and then close your eyes again. Now concentrate on the abdomen. Feel the candle flame, its warmth, the light, the radiance in the belly as this candle flame and let the light, the warmth, the radiance spread out from the abdomen. Either just with your mindfulness and your feelings or visualize a flame in your stomach area, feel the warmth that emanates from it and let it radiate far, into the entire abdomen and beyond in all directions. A few minutes of silence.

Now concentrate on the chest cavity. Feel the candle flame, its warmth, the light, the radiance in the chest area and let the light, the warmth, the radiance spread out from the heart. Either just with your mindfulness and your feelings or visualize the flame in the chest area, feel the warmth that emanates from it and let it radiate far into the whole chest and beyond in all directions. A few minutes of silence.

Now focus on the headspace. Feel the candle flame, its warmth, the light, the radiance in your head and let the light, the warmth, the radiance spread out from the headspace. Either just with your mindfulness and your feelings or visualize a flame in your head, feel the warmth that emanates from it and let it radiate far, into the entire head area and beyond in all directions. A few minutes of silence.

Now visualize and feel the whole body like this beautiful, warm, shining, radiant flame. Feel completely filled with it - you become a candle flame, pure radiant warm light. A few minutes of silence.

Now let this light shine in all directions - to the left, to the right, forwards, backwards, downwards, upwards - very far, very radiant, very bright, very warm. Continue to meditate in silence for the next 5-10 minutes.

Or if there is an area of ​​the body that needs healing, send the light of your flame there. Feel how healing warm light penetrates the region of the body, the organ.

Guide Tratak meditation yourself

If you want to guide Tratak, here are some words Sukadev uses on CD Meditation:

"This is a meditation technique that can bring you into contact with the inner light. Place a candle at a distance of about 2-5 meters a little below your eye level. Sit in a comfortable position and sit very still. First close your eyes and watch for a while how your breath flows in and out of its own accord. Become aware of how the thoughts pull there in your mind's eye and feel how they slowly become more and more calm.

Now open your eyes and look straight into the flame. Try not to blink your eyelids while doing this, but to stay calm. And just let the flame work on you. Feel how light, energy and positivity flow into you with the flame. After a while, your eyes may become wet or watery. This is a good sign, it cleanses the eyes and helps them to be in good health. Do not force anything, if necessary you can close your eyes briefly in between. Keep your eyes open as long as possible and let the light work on you.

Now close your eyes gently and become aware of what you can see with your eyes closed. Keep your eyes completely relaxed while doing this. Maybe you will see an afterimage of the candle flame - maybe in a different color or the negative image. You may just see different colors and shapes that are slowly changing. Or maybe it's just evenly dark. With your eyes closed, watch what you can see and be fully aware of it.

Open your eyes again and look relaxed and effortless into the candle flame. Look into the flame and only into the flame. Let the light of this flame work all over you. Feel how light, strength, wisdom and positivity flow into you with the light of the flame. Keep your eyes completely relaxed, open or, if necessary, blink your eyes briefly so that your eyes don't burn and the exercise remains pleasant. Let the light work completely on you.

Close your eyes again and watch what you can see with your eyes closed. Make sure that the eyes are completely relaxed, as if you are looking into infinity. And this time pay special attention to what you can see or feel in the point between the eyebrows or something above it. Don't expect anything specific, just become aware of what you can feel or see in the point between the eyebrows. And let this sensation lead you to a deeper peace.

Open your eyes again. Look into the flame again - and only into the flame. This time without focusing the flame. So without looking closely at the flame. It's like looking through the flame. You will perceive a beautiful wreath of light around the flame and come into a meditative state. Let the light of the flame work on you completely and lead you to inner silence.

Close your eyes again. Keep your eyes completely relaxed and imagine that you are looking far into infinity with your eyes closed but slightly upwards. While you look far away and slightly upwards with your eyes closed, you become aware again of what you can feel in the middle of your forehead. Stay so focused, relaxed and very calm. "

Tratak - Article by Swami Sivananda

For Tratak one can also concentrate on the center of a yantra - here the Shri Yantra.

The Indian YogiSwami Sivananda gives advice for Tratak and names the following exercises:

"Constantly looking at a certain point or object without blinking is called tratak. This is one of the six purification exercises, but it is primarily intended to develop concentration and purposefulness of thoughts. It is very useful for students of the various yoga paths. There is no more effective method In order to control the mind, Sri Ramana Maharshi, the well-known Jnani from Tiruvanamalai, performed Tratak daily by sitting on his sofa staring fixedly at the wall or on the porch looking immovable at the hills or the sky. This enabled him to to keep his thoughts in balance without ever being distracted, even when singing or talking next to him. "

Exercises of Tratak

Write the word Om in black letters on a wall and sit in front of it. With your eyes open, focus on the sacred syllable until you cry. Then close your eyes and bring out the image inside you. Open your eyes again and look until tears flow again. Gradually increase this exercise. There are students who can stare for an hour.

Tratak is one of the "six exercises" (Shatkriyas) of Hatha Yoga. It collects the wandering thoughts and puts an end to the disorder of consciousness (Vikshepa). Instead of the syllable OM you can also use a large black spot on the wall as a focus point. The wall will turn gold during the exercise. You can also draw the black point on a sheet of white paper and hang it on the wall.

You can also use any representation of God to fix your gaze (Tratak), be it Krishna, Rama or Shiva, or a sacred Shalagrama. Tratak is the alpha-beta, the first exercise for yoga students to gain concentration. Tratak, initially practiced with open eyes, is the preliminary stage of "visualization", the transfer of the thought image of an object obtained through internal inspection into the consciousness. Tratak is very helpful for concentration.

One can also collect one's thoughts through the practice of spiritual worship (ManasPuja) by concentrating on the qualities of God and remembering the revealed universe (Lila) as a divine game.

Trataka should only be practiced for one minute on the first day, gradually increasing every week. Do not strain your eyes and stop if the exercise becomes uncomfortable. If the capillaries are weak, the eyes will redden slightly. This need not be alarming as the redness will soon subside. After a student has practiced Tratak for six months, they can begin more advanced concentration and meditation exercises. It is important that he proceeds regularly and methodically in his training (sadhana), and that if he has to interrupt his practice, he resumes what he missed the next day. Tratak, the fixation of the gaze, heals many eye diseases and gives supernatural powers (siddhis). During the exercise the student should repeat OM or the sacred formula of his deity, be it Hari, Shri, Rama or Gayatri (IshthaMantra).

  • Tratak on a picture: put a picture in front of you - preferably the picture of a saint or a sage. Constantly look at it without blinking. First look at the head, then at the body and legs. Repeat this process over and over. When your thoughts calm down, only look at one point. Don't move until tears run down your cheeks. Only then close your eyes and imagine the picture in your mind.
  • Tratak on a black spot: Staring at a black spot on a white wall. Or make a black mark on a piece of white paper. Keep your eyes on this black spot for a while.
  • Tratak on OM: Draw OM on a piece of paper and hold it in front of you. Perform Tratak on this.
  • Tratak on the moon or stars: Lie on an open terrace and gaze steadily at a bright star or the full moon. After a while you will see different colors of light. A little later you will only see a certain light; all other stars in the vicinity disappear. If you stare at the moon, you will only see the bright moon on a dark background. At times, however, you will see a tremendous amount of light around you. If your gaze becomes even closer, you can see two or three moons of the same size. Sometimes you won't see a moon at all even with your eyes wide open.
  • Tratak on a point: In the morning or evening, find any point in the open air as you wish and stare at it. New ideas will come to you.
  • Tratak on your reflection: Look in a mirror very firmly at the pupil of your eye. This is Tratak on your reflection in the mirror or your own eye.
  • Tratak on the point between the eyebrows or the tip of the nose: Some practice Tratak on the space between the two eyebrows or on the tip of the nose. You can practice Tratak on the tip of your nose even while walking.
  • Tratak on the chakras: Advanced students can direct Tratak on the inner chakras or padmas (lotus blossoms). Muladhara, Anahata, Ajna and Sahasrara are the important centers for Tratak.
  • Step on the flame of an oil lamp: place an oil lamp in front of you and look at the flame. Astral entities give darshan (insight) with the help of the flames.
  • Tratak on the sun: Very few yogis perform tratak on the sun. You need to have an experienced teacher at your side. Then they begin to focus their gaze firmly on the rising sun. After gradual practice, you can practice Tratak on the sun yourself at noon. They acquire special psychic powers (siddhis). Not all are suitable for this spiritual path (sadhana).

Some tips for Tratak

At the beginning, practice Tratak for only two minutes. Then you can carefully increase the time. Don't be impatient. Progressive and constant practice is necessary. Even if you look at one spot for three full hours, it means nothing if your mind wanders. Your thinking must also be focused on this spot. Only then will you make progress in this exercise and acquire many spiritual powers.

If you can't stare at something for even a second despite several attempts, you shouldn't worry. One can close one's eyes and look at an imaginary point between the eyebrows.

People with very weak eye capillaries should - after they have closed their eyes - perform Tratak on an internal or external point. The eyes must not be overwhelmed. If you feel tired, close it and keep your thoughts on the subject of the Tratak. If you do Tratak while sitting, your body must not sway.

Tratak enhances eyesight. Many who suffered from eye problems have experienced this benefit. The unmoved gaze at the sun, which can overwhelm your forces, may only happen with the help of a guru. He will prescribe an oil to rub into your head to cool the organism and avoid serious discomfort that may arise. After gazing in the sun, you should rub honey on your eyes at night.

The practice of Tratak heals eye problems and improves vision so that one can leave off the glasses. Willpower is developed to a marvelous extent, and thoughts become steady. Vikshepa Clairvoyance, mind reading and other powers are acquired through Tratak.

Do not neglect this practice, even if it is only part of hatha yoga. All forms of yoga are compatible with one another. Tratak is undoubtedly preparation for the coming state of samadhi. You should move up the ladder of yoga step by step. From the exercises of Tratak you can choose the one that seems most suitable to you. Practice them regularly to receive their benefits.

Swami Sivananda on Trataka in his book "Yoga in Daily Life"

It is one of the purification processes (Shat Karmas) in the light of the Hatha Yoga philosophy. Trataka also plays an important role in Raja Yoga and Gyana Yoga. Trataka means that you direct all of your own energy to an object, thing or idea and observe, dissect and analyze every detail, consciously and unconsciously using every slightest possibility of information from inside and outside. Trataka is the root of all willpower. It is a preschool for sadhana for the yoga student. A Jnani focuses his attention on one abstract thought: Aham Brahma Asmi. I am all purity. I am all power and the like. It is indeed an arduous work, a terribly difficult endeavor, for those of average intelligence to concentrate on an abstract thought. Therefore, one should first concentrate on a specific subject.

Hold the picture of your Guardian Angel (Ishta Devata) in front of you. I will now tell you how to practice Trataka through Vishnu the Lord. Fix your thoughts first on Vishnu's feet, then on the lotus under his feet. Let your thoughts circle around the yellow silk robe Pitambara, then the golden hara, the gemstone on his chest, then earrings, face, the crown on the head, the bracelets, the disc in the upper right hand, the shell in the upper left hand. That is the right order.Then start at the bottom again, do this over and over again. Every time your thoughts want to wander, keep putting them on your feet, as Lord Krishna says in Gita VI, 25.

The shell means Om or absolute word (ShabdaBrahman). The disc is the destroyer of the evil streams of thought (Vrittis) or sensory impressions (Vasanas), the scepter is a badge of sovereignty, the lotus under the feet means the world or the universe.

At the beginning, after sitting in asana, you can practice Trataka for 10 minutes on a black point on the wall in front of you. Gradually increase the length of time. Look straight to the point without stopping and without closing your eyes.

Even after you have closed your ears with both thumbs, you can practice Trataka on the anahata tone that arises from the Akasa of the heart. In the long run this will lead to a real cessation of thoughts (Laya). Then you can practice Trataka through Vishnu, Siva, Krishna or any other figure (Murthy). Trataka practice gives tremendous powers, eliminates a lot of eye ailments and gives divine perception (DivyaDrishti). Copyright Divine Life Society

Tratak, the cleansing of the eyes in Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Tratak - eye exercise and helpful for concentration

- A lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2019 -

Commentary on verses 31 and 32 of the second chapter of Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Swatmarama writes:

Verse 31:

atha trāṭakam
nirīkṣen niścala-dṛśā sūkṣma-lakṣyaṁ samāhitaḥ
aśru-sampāta-paryantam ācāryais trāṭakaṁ smṛtam

Now the eye cleaning. Without blinking your eyelids, stare at an object for a minute with your mind focused until the tears come to your eyes. This is what the teachers call Trāṭaka.

Perhaps a word about terminology: You may know the exercise under “Tratak”. "Trataka" is Sanskrit, "Tratak" is the abbreviation as it is common in Hindi, for example. And most yoga masters speak of Tratak, and because Swami Vishnu also called it Tratak, we adopted it that way. From Sanskrit it would be Trāṭaka. So long ā and the t of ṭa, trāṭaka, would be cerebralized if you know what that is. Good, but more important here than Sanskrit is the practice itself.

atha trāṭaka: Now the eye cleaning. The yogi should look "nirīkṣe", namely "niścala-dṛśā", with a motionless fixed gaze. So keep looking at something. On "laksya", on a certain object that is "sūkṣma". And how should he do that: "samāhitaḥ", concentrated. Namely "sampāta" until the appearance of "aśru", of tears. And if he does that, it is trāṭaka. At least that is how it is remembered by "ācāryais", that is, by the great teachers, "smṛta".

You probably know Tratak mostly with a candle flame. And there are tons of videos on the Internet about this, I think I have published half a dozen versions of Trāṭaka videos there myself. So if you are looking for exercise instructions for Tratak, go to the Yoga Vidya website and type in "Tratak". And then you come to some exercise instructions, both as texts as well as videos and audios.

But you can also practice Tratak on something else. You could also practice in between, for example, at one point on the wall. Or, assuming you have to wait somewhere, you can also look at a petal. Or you can look into your master's eyes. Or to the point between the eyebrows. Or you can take a picture of God, a murti, for example Sarasvati, and look there, for example, at the point between the eyebrows or the area around the heart. If you keep looking at this one point and then keep the mind focused, then this creates a certain calm.

Trāṭaka is, on the one hand, a cleansing of the eyes. When tears come, that's very good. But it is also considered an exercise for concentration. What Trāṭaka does, Swatmarama tells in the next verse.

Effects of Tratak

Prana can become visible

Verse 32:

mocanaṁ netra-rogāṇāṁ tandrādīṇāṁ kapāṭakam
yatnatas trāṭakaṁ gopyaṁ yathā hāṭaka-peṭakam

This keeps the eyes free from disease, from exhaustion, and closes the door to other diseases. The yogi should carefully guard the eye cleansing like a pot of gold and keep it secret. What does Trāṭaka do? First of all: cures eye discomfort. So Trāṭaka should also help that you see better and maintain the health of the eye. Perhaps another important tip: If you practice Trāṭaka regularly, you should also practice the other eye exercises in yoga. So look left, look right, up, down, and so on. There are also some videos about this: Yoga eye exercises.

Trāṭaka also helps against exhaustion. Suppose, for example, you have a phase where it is difficult for you to stay focused while meditating, then you can meditate with your eyes open, for example looking at a candle flame.

In Zen there is also that where people do not meditate with closed eyes, but sit in front of a wall, typically a white wall, then they should keep their eyes open, and that should also help to stay awake. Trāṭaka can also help to increase subtle awareness. Just assuming that you would practice half an hour of Trāṭaka with a candle flame every morning, perhaps gradually increasing it to two hours, then you will begin to be able to see auras, to be able to see prana, perhaps even to be able to see subtle beings. I practiced this myself for a few months on the advice of Swami Nityananda, and it was very fascinating to see the effects that emerged there. Well, my master Swami Vishnu Devananda told me afterwards to switch off my auric vision again. But Trāṭaka was one of the elements, as I once experienced and found interesting.

By the way: why should you switch it off permanently? It is not entirely fair somewhere when you see people's auras and thus get inferences about their condition and get conclusions about their energy. That is an entering into the privacy of others somewhere. And so Swami Vishnu said it's nice to learn it, but then it's nice to turn it off again, ultimately out of respect for the privacy of others. Hence: You should keep it secret like a pot of gold. Which means: You can practice it, but this subtle perception is not something that should be used in everyday life.

Trāṭaka also helps to open one's third eye. It helps that one also gets inner images and that it is easier to concentrate in meditation.

Trāṭaka can also be practiced on one's master. This is how you can better imagine your master afterwards. I actually did Trāṭaka physically on my master when Swami Vishnu was on the stage. For one summer I always meditated with my eyes open and looked at Swami Vishnu. Sometimes I experience people who do that to me, which makes me a bit uncomfortable, so I'm happy that few people come up with this idea. Well, Swami Vishnu was a great master. In meditation he always came into samadhi, and he didn't care what his students were doing there during that time. In any case, it helped me to have a very strong visual idea of ​​Swami Vishnu, so that I can always imagine him sitting in front of me, slightly above me, and how a great pranic radiance is coming. I did the same with Swami Sivananda's picture. There are three pictures that are my favorite pictures, and I did that with all of them for at least a month. Tratak for half an hour on each of these individual pictures, so that I am also able to visualize this master. And through this pictorial image I feel: Then comes the presence of the Master.

So it pays to do something to get a very clear, pictorial idea about Trāṭaka. Or practice Trāṭaka to open the third eye. Or simply for better concentration and sharper vision.

So much for Trāṭaka. You can find more information about Trāṭaka on our website. Here you will find various information and exercise instructions as video and audio. There are also exercise instructions there, including meditation instructions of all kinds.

Video - Tratak in Hatha Yoga Pradipika

In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Trataka is taught as part of the six purification acts (Shatkriya) (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Chapter 2, Verses 31-32).

Tratak - the way of one-point concentration

by Christine Wiume, from Yoga Vidya Journal No. 29

Integrating yoga into everyday life - this can succeed if we set new accents here and there. Simple, short exercises like the Tratak presented here can help you enormously in a stressful everyday life.

Imagine that you are sitting somewhere and have to wait for someone. Maybe you're sitting in the reception area of ​​a company where you're about to have an interview. You really want to get the job and you definitely want to make a good impression. You are incredibly excited, chills and hot flashes come over you alternately. Your mouth feels dry, even though you have already drunk so much that you are not sure whether you can even make it through the interview without having to apologize briefly in between. You may also have damp hands and don't know how to get them dry again until the first handshake. Well, who doesn't know such a situation?

How can you now manage to get out of this vortex of fearful thoughts, heated emotions and uncomfortable body sensations? People have been asking this for millennia, and some yogis and great masters have found the answer. In the long term, of course, it is a matter of completely detaching yourself from this vortex, and it is good to practice this whenever possible.

A first exercise could be Tratak. Tratak means to focus your gaze on one point and also to collect your thoughts there. You can also do this exercise in the reception area of ​​a large company. You choose a point, bring your attention there and feel your breath flowing in and out. You can also close your eyes, but keep your focus on the point and feel the comforting breath that anchors you in the body and gives you support.

You no longer need to walk in thoughts or feelings. Just focus on the point and your breath. You will surely hold out the exercise until someone picks you up. And then you go into the conversation refreshed and focused.

Admittedly, we started with a relatively extreme situation here, but sometimes it takes just such situations for us to start practicing seriously and to appreciate the real value of the individual exercises. You can practice Tratak in any situation, and the more you practice, the easier it becomes. The longer you can keep your focus on one point, the more concentrated you will be, the less you lose yourself in thoughts and feelings, the more you are in the moment. If you can concentrate well, you will also find that you get things done much faster. What others need six hours to do, you can do in half an hour.

A scientist discovers many new things by concentrating his thoughts. He opens the gates of gross thinking and penetrates into higher levels of the mental. Here he receives deeper knowledge. He concentrates all spiritual energies on the things that he analyzes. This is how he finds her secret.

(Swami Sivananda: "Success in Life and Self-Realization" (ELS, p. 111)

Tratak, like the asanas, is an exercise that belongs to Hatha Yoga. “It is one of the six cleansing exercises, but above all it should develop concentration and purposefulness of thoughts. (ELS, p. 113)

The relationship to the body plays a major role here. “Relaxing the muscles calms the mind. Mental relaxation lets the body rest. Body and mind are closely related. (ELS, p. 77)

When the mind is focused, the breathing becomes slower. (ELS, p. 56)

You can practice Tratak on both gross and subtle objects. Swami Sivananda recommends starting with concrete objects, because they are easily visible to normal people, and he notices when his attention goes away from them.

It is good to start practicing on time. You can always focus on an object and concentrate on it. This can be a point or a picture, but also the tip of your own nose. You can visualize the tip of the nose or any other picture or reconstruct it internally.

You can easily learn to concentrate, to collect yourself in your center. Tratak is “only” an exercise that belongs to Hatha Yoga, but above all it is a first exercise that develops the one-pointedness of the mind, in which there is only one thought. Only then do you fall into meditation. First of all, the main goal is to limit the movement of thoughts and to direct them to one point, an object, over and over again. When this thought also passes, samadhi is attained. The mental is pure, empty, unmoved. You still have to rise above this state of thoughtlessness and identify with the highest Purusha or Brahman. He is the silent witness of the mental, which gives it strength and light. Only now do you attain the highest goal in life. Now the mental has no more sensations. (ELS, p. 107)

See also

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