God only knows how much we need peace!
How much we would like to silence the obsessive thoughts that have tormented us for days, months, even years. Satisfy our need to “get better”, to get out of the state of emotional malaise that makes us read reality in an altered way (magnifying some aspects and not seeing others).
Without peace we can neither get better nor be truly happy, deep down.
Here, yoga helps us to calm the mind and therefore to find peace.
It teaches us to harmonize the mind, starting from the awareness of our every gesture.
It allows us to control our minds by repeating each gesture with sacred attention, devoted minuteness and regular intensity.
Because when we are focused, we are able to consider multiple aspects of a problem and also manage emotional situations without repressing or removing them.
Concentration is therefore a valid tool for going through the difficulties that life poses to us.
Only a calm and concentrated mind, in fact, can remain in contact with the deep mechanisms of our being.
Yogis define concentration as the practitioner’s ability to become the object of meditation itself. It is a deep state of understanding that expands perception, awareness, beyond the limits commonly experienced by people.
In Patanjali’s “Yoga of the eight limbs” “Dharana” is the ability to concentrate and be able to keep the mind still on a fixed point, while “Dhyana” is the absence of effort in fixing the point. One serves the other in meditation, one is consequential to the other.
In Dharana, thoughts cross the mind, flow and are welcomed. In this phase one learns not to stop them and not to highlight them, only to let them go effortlessly, as Dhyana teaches.
A good practice for learning how to do this is the Trataka .
In ancient times, yogis had discovered that through the eyes you can control the mind : the movements of the eyes, in fact, have an influence on the functioning of the brain and vice versa.
On a physical level, Trataka corrects visual weakness and some eye defects such as myopia.
On a mental level it develops the ability to concentrate, will and memory, relaxes the nervous system, facilitates sleep.
It is a physical practice which however has an action on a mental level. If we think that the eyes are the main input of information into our brain, we should understand that we must improve the ability to refine the concentration on what is really important, calming the turbulence of thoughts that often makes us inconclusive, agitated, nervous and stressed.
On a subtle level, the Trataka acts on the positive expressions of the sixth chakra, Ajna, giving clairvoyance, the ability to see beyond the common faculty of sight. Practicing Trataka is accessing the inner sight in order to access the sight of the heart.
In practice, this technique consists in keeping the gaze steady on an object for a long period, slowing down the whirlwind of thoughts and focusing on something external-internal in order to concentrate the mind making it unidirectional: ” stop the eyes to stop the thoughts “!
In fact, with practice Trataka will help us to work on the lack of concentration and mental fatigue, repairing our ability to focus and promoting the regeneration of our mind, making us more concrete and efficient.
There are many techniques of performing Trataka, for example using a star or the full moon you practice what is called “Trataka from afar”, using instead the flame of a candle you practice a “Trataka from near”. But now let’s see how it’s done.
Look for a quiet place from which you can observe a particularly bright star or a full moon. You can do this sitting in front of a window, or directly outside.
Sit with your back straight, but relaxed, close your eyes and for a moment focus your attention only on your breath, letting it flow as it comes, spontaneously, without changing it.
Then open your eyes and stare at the star of your choice or the silver moon shining in the sky.
The eye muscles must be relaxed, in order to facilitate oxygenation.
Remember that your ability to concentrate will increase with practice.
As soon as your eyes become tired or start to water it is good to close them and relax them.
With your eyes closed, remain aware of the complementary image (on the retina) of the star or moon and continue practicing Trataka on this image.
When this inner vision fades, reopen your eyes and, if you are not tired, return to focus on the light of the star or moon, and then again on its inner image with your eyes closed.
Start by practicing for 1-5 minutes and then gradually increase, without straining.
Remember that the ability to keep your eyes open without blinking will gradually develop with practice.
In case of insomnia and tension, Trataka can be practiced for 5-10 minutes before sleeping.
Do not practice Trataka immediately after eating, initially avoid overexertion and do not practice with contact lenses.
Practice Trataka from afar using the light of a candle
Sit in a comfortable position, on a chair or cross-legged, in a dark or dimly lit room.
Place a lighted candle at eye level at a distance of 60-70cm from your face.
Keep your back straight, but keep a comfortable and relaxed posture. Trying to keep your eyes relaxed without blinking, look intently at the brightest point of the flame, which is generally above the wick.
Keep staring at the flame focusing your attention on it, until you almost forget the rest of your body. There are only your eyes staring at the flame. When your eyes get tired or wet, usually after a few minutes, close them and relax them.
Try not to move your body. You become aware of the image of the flame that appears before your closed eyes and continue to stare at it, just as you continue to see the intense light with your eyes closed after staring at it. As soon as the image begins to fade, open your eyes and stare again at the real candle flame by repeating the cycle 2-3 times.
A few minutes of Trataka on the candle flame is enough to make the mind focused. It is a useful technique to perform when seeking concentration, if you feel mental fatigue and to increase the ability to have a one-way mind in all circumstances. It appears to be useful for correcting even mild vision disorders with accommodation deficits, as well as for promoting falling asleep, especially in people suffering from insomnia. In this regard, it can be performed for 5-10 minutes before sleeping.
After Trataka rub your hands and place them “in a cup” over your eyes.
I advise you to try this technique, you will be amazed by how much peace you will gain by practicing.
Over time you will learn to be focused and focused to the point of “making everything else disappear”, there will only be that internal or external light, without other mental distractions, only the present moment will exist.
And when you learn to be present in every moment, you will develop awareness (the main antidote to stress), and thanks to awareness you will develop the ability to manage everyday problems thanks to a more relaxed, clear and active mind.
Awareness will amplify your self-confidence and your inner strength, it will allow you to overcome your limitations, your fears and uncertainties.
If your mind is relaxed, you will be able to express yourself authentically and peace will be with you!