Step 1 Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Eyes are the windows to the soul and they have to keep burning bright until the end of life. Along with the eight asana practice suggested for toning and strengthening of eyes muscles (as well as other major muscles), a powerful kriya or cleansing technique called Trataka has been practised by yogis specifically to rejuvenate the optic nerves. It cleanses the eyes from inside and out and defers diseases. It is recognised by all major ancient yoga texts as being able to cure more than 20 eye problems.

Trataka is a practice of intense gazing without blinking the eyes at a fixed focal point. This focal point can be anything: a dot on paper, the sun or even the moon. Mostly a candle is used as it leaves a deep impression upon the mind. Initially it is advisable to begin with 2 to 3 minutes and then extend the practice to 10 minutes.

TRATAKA

Sit in vajrasana and place a lit candle at some distance from yourself at eye level.

Fix your gaze at the tip of the candle’s wick and look at it.

Try not to blink and keep the gaze as steady as possible. Allow the tears to flow, if they come.

Then close your eyes with the image of the flame and fix your inner gaze at the point between your eyebrows and continue to meditate upon for some more time.

Benefits

1 It improves eyesight and has the ability to restore the functioning of the optic nerve.

2 Eye strain, headaches, myopia and astigmatism can be cured with this practice.

3 Eyes become clear and bright.

4 It improves focus, concentration and memory.

5 It opens up the pineal gland or the third eye.

6 Cures insomnia, depression and allows a good sleep.

7 Brings inner calm and silence.

8 Brings clarity.

9 Gives stress relief and relaxation.

10 Develops intuition and will power.

These are just a few of the external benefits of Trataka. A regular practice has the power to elevate the mind to a point where it can see beyond and rise above worldly perceptions. But these are powerful practices and only to be done under expert supervision.

Postures

Carrying forward from last week, here are the last four postures for optic nerve strengthening

5 Virabhadrasana: In this the gaze goes past the thumb skywards and it’s called Urdhva Drishti.

6 Parvatasana: When the gaze is fixed on the navel, it’s called the Nabhi Chakra Drishti.

7 Janusirsasana: In this your gaze is on your toes and this is known as Padayorage Drishti.

8 Matsyaasana: The gaze rests on the eyebrow centre called the Bhrumadhye Drishti.

TIP OF THE WEEK: A quick pick-me-up for the eyes is a simple yogic practice called Palming. Just rub your palms together till you generate warmth and then place them over your eyes. Let the warmth seep in and refresh your eye muscles as well as your brain.

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This is an interactive series, in which we will bring you practical tips that you want to get on daily living, inspired by the vision of yoga. Write in to tabloid@gulfnews.com with your questions and doubts about how to enhance your lifestyle through yoga. For more information, call 800-YOGA (9642) or log on to artisticyoga.com