“Hatha Yoga is the path of practice and purification of internal, as well as external. It is an additional path to the four traditional paths (Gyan, Bhakti, Karma, and Raj Yoga). Regular practice of these exercises needs discipline and willpower, and that is why this path is called Hatha Yoga.
HA-THA, also means sun and moon. This refers to the union and harmony of the sun and moon principles, which arise from the practice of Hatha Yoga.
Six purification techniques pertain to Hatha Yoga, called Shat Karmas or Shat Karma Kriyas.”
Tratak – The Power of Concentration
Tratak is a simple but powerful cleansing method. It has a strong effect on the Ajna chakra and cleanses and washes the eyes from the inside out. While staring at the candle the vision is still operating, and the eyes remain focused; this causes a slight strain and eventually, the eyes start to burn and tears begin to flow, leaving the eyes clear and bright. It also concentrates the mind, giving us a view of its wavering tendencies.
Sit in a comfortable meditation posture in front of a candle about arm’s length away and the flame at the same height as your chest. The flame should be away from the flow of air, so the flame remains stable.
Close your eyes and start to allow yourself to relax. Mentally know there is a candle in front of you. Open your eyes and stare at the flame without blinking. Direct your gaze to the very brightest part of the flame. Stare at the flame for 10-15 seconds. You can gradually build up to 1 minute.
Close the eyes again and allow the image of the flame to appear. Focus on the image, if it does not appear, don’t worry. Repeat two more times, and the image will appear. Do not exceed the length of time given. The ability to stare and not blink should be developed gradually. While seeing the image of the flame behind the closed eyelids notice the characteristics of the flame; the shape, the colour, and the distance the flame is away from you. Just notice without trying to control the image. If it disappears, try to bring it back.
When finished, sit silently for some time and notice the effects of this practice.
The practice balances the nervous system relieving anxiety, depression, nervous tension, and insomnia. It develops good concentration, improves memory power, willpower, and excellent preparation for meditation.