Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Earth Hour Trataka Meditation


Earth Hour was founded by WWF in Sydney in 2007 and has now been embraced by 7001 cities and 152 nations across the globe.  This year when we turn out the light's for Earth Hour we have been asked to focus on our attention on one of the world's most iconic and threatened places : Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

In honour of this event .. I thought I might introduce again the Trataka or Candle Flame Gazing Meditation.

Trataka is a beautiful yoga meditation practice that is known for building concentration. On a physical level this practice is also noted for strengthening the eye muscles through the exercise of focusing upon a single point, and this is also provides a very calming effect on the eyes and gradually quietening the mind. 

You can actually practice Trataka on many different objects, the flame is the most popular as it produces a very clear after-image (when we close our eyes and 'hold' the image in our mind) and is therefore easier to visualise once our eyes are closed.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in front of an open fire then this can be a mesmerising object of focus. Otherwise all you need is a candle and matches (and please take care when around fire!).

Trataka - Instructions:
* Darken the room and light your candle ensuring it is about 3 feet away and at eye level.
* Sit up in a comfortable and relaxed position, a chair is ideal.
* Rest your hands in whatever position is comfortable, keep the back relatively straight and the body still.
* Take a few moments to settle.
* Close your eyes and simply rest with the breathe .. observing the inhalation and exhalation, enjoy the rise and fall, the ebb and flow.
* After a few minutes of settling, open your eyes and rest your gaze steadily on the candle flame.
* Rest here as long as comfortable.
* If the eyes tire or start to produce tears, close them and open your inner awareness to the image of the candle present in the mind (visualize). In the yoga tradition you hold the image of the flame between the eyebrows, at the centre of the forehead (the trigger point or Third Eye Chakra).
* Keep your focus gently on the image. Our level of concentration determines how long we can retain the image, and if we lose our focus or become distracted we gently note the distraction and bring to mind back to the image of the candle again.
* Once the image has faded completely, open your eyes and begin again to focus on the candle flame.
* Do not strain the eyes, just allow the eyes to take in the image of the candle in a gentle and easy openness.
* Continue this cycle for 5-10minutes (to start) and over time you can increase this to a 20 minute practice.

At the end of Trataka simply rest a while in stillness .. this is the best part!

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