10 Jan Trataka-Yogic Eye Car
Trataka-Yogic Eye Care
Yoga Kriyas–simplified hygiene practices.
Yogendra Trataka; to gaze.
Trataka is a kriya with multiple benefits. Traditionally, it has been practised by Yogis in different ways not only for its beneficial effects on the eyes but also for its tremendous effect on improving concentration.
Cupping or Palming the Eyes:
Palming or cupping the eyes is practised after completing the practice of Trataka. It is a way to relax the eyes after the eye movements. It is also practised after meditation before opening the eyes. Gently rub the palms to create some heat and place the palms on the eyes such that the palms do not touch the eyes but form a ‘cup’, shielding the eyes. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Repetition of this practice is according to need. However, once or twice is enough.
Splashing the eyes with water is refreshing. However, it is recommended to wash the eyes by taking drinking water (room temperature) in one palm and dipping the eye into it for a few seconds. Blink the eyes a couple of times when it is in the water. Repeat with the other eye.
The eyes are the most delicate and valuable features of our body. Hence, practice Trataka safely by blinking whenever discomfort is felt. This means not to gaze unblinkingly at any external object for a long time. It must be noted that all eye movements must be non-jerky and never excessive. Spectacles can be removed before the practice of Trataka.
Bahiranga Trataka- Eye Exercise
Variation 1 – Movement of eyeballs.
Starting position: Sit in Sukhasana, Vajrasana or any other meditative posture. If not possible to sit on the floor, sit on a firm chair with an erect backrest.Keep the body erect, head straight and palms facing down, resting on the knees or thighs.
The sequence of steps:
Phase1: Shoulder gaze:
Keeping the eyes open, gaze straight ahead at one point. Slowly, without moving the head move the eyeballs to the right shoulder in one slow, continuous movement. Rest the gaze on the right shoulder for a few seconds, without blinking (Dakshina Jatru). Gently, begin moving the eyes to the centre and then towards left shoulder (Vama Jatru). Return gaze to the centre point.
Phase 2: Upward and Downward gaze:
From the centre take the gaze upwards and hold for a few seconds without blinking. Return gaze to centre and take the gaze down all the while keeping the head motionless. Return gaze to the centre.
Phase 3: Nasal gaze:
Keeping the eyes open, gaze straight ahead at one point. Fix both the eyes on the tip of the nose (Nasikagrah). Continue to gaze for a few seconds and then close the eyes.
Phase 4: Eyebrow gaze:
Keeping the eyes open, gaze straight ahead at one point. Focus both the eyes on the space between the eyebrows (Bhrumadhya). Continue to gaze for a few seconds and then close the eyes.
Phase 5: Eyeball rotation:
Keeping the eyes open, gaze straight ahead at one point. Rotate both eyeballs in clockwise and anti-clockwise motions.
Phase 6: Peripheral sight:
Keeping the eyes open, gaze straight ahead at one point. With the eyes looking ahead try to ‘see’ the sides, left and right. Now look into the distance and close the eyes.
Posture release: Open the eyes and blink a couple of times. Open the eyes wide and squeeze them shut gently. Palm or cup the eyes.
Recommended practice: Practice 1 or 2 rounds of all phases together. Pause between rounds for a few seconds by cupping or palming the eyes.
Variation 2 – Candle or Object gazing.
Starting position: Sit in any comfortable meditative posture (or on a chair), keeping the head and body erect.
- Light a candle and keep it 16 to 20 inches away; the tip of the flame just below eye level. The point of attention must be as small as possible, even if the object may be large.
- Make sure there is no draft of air and the flame is steady.
- Steadily gaze at either the tip of the flame or the tip of the wick, till either tear flow from the eyes or the eyes grow weary. If using any other object, choose one point within the object to fix gaze.
- Be sure not to over-strain the eyes. Blinking the eyes is a protective mechanism of the body. Hence, do not gaze unblinkingly for long.
- Now close the eyes and visualize the object or try to see its image within.
- When this image begins to fade cup or palm the eyes and then slowly open them.
Note: It is recommended that the room is neither brightly lit nor very dark.
Recommended practice: Practice daily for 2-5 minutes, as per individual comfort.
Limitations /Contraindications: Not recommended for serious eye disorders, glaucoma and high myopia. This exercise is not suitable for people with psychic problems – schizophrenia or hallucinations.
Benefits of Trataka:
- Purifies the eyes and strengthens the eye muscles by exercising them to focus on a point.
- Corrects short-sightedness.
- Improves vision, concentration and memory. Hence, recommended for school children too.
- Cures sleep-related disorders such as a headache, insomnia, nightmares etc.
- By fixing the gaze the restless mind to comes to a halt. Hence, calms the mind and provides inner peace and silence.
- Helps overcome mental, behavioural and emotional ailments.
- Enhances self-confidence, patience and willpower.
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