How to Practice a Candle Meditation
With so many different kinds of meditation techniques available it can sometimes be hard to know which is the most beneficial to incorporate into your regular meditation practice.
I have discovered that trying out different forms of meditation is the only way to find out what style of meditation works best for my needs or mood at that moment. Sometimes I feel like a chanting meditation is more invigorating for me for on a certain day, other times I might be drawn to a silent meditation for inner peace and mental stability.
One thing I have learned is that meditating with my eyes slightly open and focused on a single object like the flame of a candle in the candle meditation technique described in this article, is a truly mind-altering experience.
This form of meditation has made it easier for me to concentrate on the present moment during my everyday life, and mindfulness seems to come easier to me now.
If you’re anything like me, you might have trouble keeping your mind from wandering off during meditation. This candle gazing meditation has really helped with that, as well as bringing me inner peace and much less anxiety. Let me tell you all about it here:
Candle gazing meditation or Trataka is a form of meditation where your eyes remain open as you focus on a candle flame. It originates from Hatha Yoga, hence its Sanskrit name Trataka which translates as “to gaze.” In the Hatha Yoga tradition, it serves as one of six purification techniques for spiritual advancement.
The technique works to increase your concentration and state of awareness through intense focus on the candlelight. When we place all our attention on a single point of focus such as a candle flame, our awareness intensifies and after a while, distractions and intruding thoughts simply begin to dissolve.
The candle acts like a magnet, drawing only awareness and pure focus from us as our attention is absorbed by the light of the flickering flame.
It is much easier to let invasive thoughts fade away when you have this focus. Even if thoughts come up, simply placing all awareness on that candle flame leaves no room for them to intrude.
It might take some practice at first, but it’s a meditation technique I encourage you to try for yourself.
Benefits of Candle Gazing Meditation or Trataka
- Deep Relaxation You can achieve deep relaxation, inner peace, stress relief, better sleep, and less anxiety. Anything that connects you to such inner stillness is also good for self-esteem and your physical well-being. Tension in the body is released and you experience higher energy levels.
- Improved Focus This meditation improves concentration, memory, focus, and the ability to organize your day in a balanced way through increased productivity.
- Opens the Third Eye This type of meditation can help to open your third eye or Ajna Chakra through which you may access your psychic abilities and deepen your intuition.
- Good for your Eye Health This meditation can even relieve eye fatigue and help to give your eyes a gentle cleansing through the lubrication they receive when you maintain such focus. According to Hatha Yoga traditions, it is a form of eye yoga.
How to do a Candle Gazing Meditation
To prepare the space before your meditation practice, choose a dimly lit room where you can sit in a comfortable position undisturbed.
It’s a good idea to draw the window shades or curtains and make sure any air movement in the room is minimal so that you can retain your focus throughout without worrying the candle will blow out.
Choose a level and stable surface to place your candle upon where you can gaze at it at eye level. It should be relatively close to where you will be sitting and obviously far away from anything flammable.
You can sit on a chair, cushion, the floor, or wherever you want as long as you can remain in a comfortable position without fidgeting and see the candle flame at eye level. It’s always better to remain still during meditation in order to eliminate distractions and to practice that form of concentration.
Take some deep breaths as you settle into the space and begin the meditation.
Stare at the flame of the candle. Keep your gaze steady even if you start to feel bored, distracted, or uncomfortable. Just like in other meditations, the ability to allow sensations and thoughts to come and go is key. When you feel distracted, take some deep breaths and return your gaze to the flame.
Your eyes may begin to water, just blink and allow your focus to be absorbed by the flickering flame. Keep your attention coming back to the candlelight, again and again.
As you fix your attention on the flame, imagine the light from that flame flowing into your being. You can imagine this as a light that flows towards you on your inhalations. Visualize yourself filled with pure light as you breathe.
As time goes by, your focus will remain solely on the candle and all thoughts and distractions will fade away.
If you like, after a few minutes, you can close your eyes and focus on the spot between your eyes. It’s common to still see an image of the flame in even with your eyes closed.
Focus on this after image in your mind’s eye as you close out the meditation.
Allow yourself to gently bring your mind and body back to your waking consciousness before continuing your day.
What kind of Candle to use for Trataka Meditation?
Choosing the right candle is important. I recommend always going with non-toxic candles if possible. Choose soy wax or beeswax candles as they are not made with toxic substances, and are better for you and the environment.
Personally, I really like to use aromatherapy or scented candles with gentle scents. These can even enhance your practice as aromas such as peppermint, jasmine or lavender can increase relaxation and focus.
If you like can even delve into choosing a candle in a color that means something to you, or creates a certain mood. If you want to work on opening your third eye or Ajna chakra, you might choose an indigo candle as this relates to the color of that chakra.
I hope you enjoy practicing this trataka meditation and that it brings you deep stress relief, relaxation, and a sense of focused awareness to bring into the rest of your life.