Sleep Well: Candle Meditation for Insomnia

The video below is posted to provide information about Candle Gazing/Cleansing Vision: Trataka or Tratak – Kriya

Trataka means to look or to gaze. The attention is restricted to one point. It is concentration without tension and with
relaxed serenity.

insomnia mental health candle gazing tratak

Kriya is a yogic cleansing or purification exercise. The eyes and tear ducts are cleansed with Trataka.
In concentrative meditation the attention is fixed on one thing. Reducing the stream of thought to one thought, the object
of attention, and holding there, unwavering. Candle gazing improves concentration because where the eyes are directed
the mind and thoughts will follow

The Video is hosted by Catherine Cloutier, our Primary Counsellor.  She draws on her background in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Yoga and Clinical Counselling

Candle Gazing to sleep Better

The object of attention is unimportant. The method of holding a single percept in the mind is used to still thought entirely.
• In early practice the attention will slip away and unbidden thoughts will intrude and attempt to set up the chain reaction called reverie. Each time you become aware of having lost concentration, bring the torch beam of attention back to its task. Do not allow yourself to become irritated with this process; it is the essence of increasing concentration.
• Treatment for insomnia. (Recommended: 20-minute sessions before bed.

To Begin
• Create a safe, nurturing environment in which there will be as little distraction as possible.
• It is ideal to position yourself such that the candle will fall at or a little below eye level in the visual field (so as to not tire the eyes).
• Sit firmly in one of the meditative postures (use the wall to support your spine if any discomfort is felt, or sit in a straight back chair for comfort), head, neck, and backbone in a vertical line, motionless, breathing slowly
and smoothly. Relax your body, drawing your attention from your feet through to the top your head, relaxing each part.

• Focus the eyes, in a soft gaze, on the centre of the candle flame. This is the brightest point of the flame, it is white, motionless and mesmerizing. Do not stare: look through the eyes rather than from them. The eyes
should not be widely opened, or they will soon tire.
• Begin to focus to your breath, a natural pace and pattern. Allow the eyes to continue their gaze without closing the lids.
• If the focus chases after a sound or a thought, bring it back gently to rest on the breath and the flame.
• Continue the gaze until the begin to sting and will then begin to water. Allowing the cleansing tears to clear your eyes and then close your lids.
• Hold the image of the flame before the mind’s eye.
• The after-image will appear (perhaps between the brows) and continue your focus to this point. This point of focus will fade, repeat the focus and continue the exercise.

• Continue to focus upon your breath and the flame or afterimage.
• After you’ve completed the number of repetitions you are comfortable with:

Rub your palms together creating
a friction-heat, cup your palms gently over your eyes allowing the warmth to soothe and penetrate into your
eyes.

Multiple Sources: The Complete Yoga Book, James Hewitt , texts on Sivananada Yoga, etc. Compiled by Catherine Cloutier

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