The Yoga Tutor

Trataka - The Steady Gaze

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 507 ]

Trataka, which means "steady gaze," is a technique whereby the eyes are fixed upon a certain external point such as the horizon of the sea, or the flame of a candle. The eyes may also be fixed upon a body part, such as the tip of the nose, between the brows or the navel.

Trataka is a part of the shat karmas, or the six basic cleansing actions, extremely beneficial for cleansing and conditioning the eyes. It is also a primary practice in dharana training.


  • Take a comfortable seated position outdoors, where objects at various distances between you and the horizon can be viewed
  • Pick at least 4 objects (roughly spaced equal distance), the first being near the feet and the furthest at the horizon.
  • Beginning at the nearest object, concentrate upon it for 60 seconds.
  • Move you attention at 60-second intervals to each successively further object until the final one at the horizon has been reached.
  • After focusing upon the last point for 60 seconds, reverse direction and, object by object (again concentrating 60 seconds on each) return back to the first point.
Note: A further variation of this technique can be done by performing this same sequence with one eye at a time (while covering the opposite eye with a patch).


  • Place a candle on a small table, whereby the flame is at eye level.
  • Sit a distance of between 6 to 10 feet away and place your concentration upon the flame.
  • Do not to blink and try to hold your concentration for between 30 and 60 seconds.
  • Next, close your eyes for 30 to 60 seconds and try to reproduce the image of the flame in your 'mind's eye'.
  • Repeat this process 3 to 6 times.

NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

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