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Festive Light and Candle Gazing (Tratak)

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year – hooray!

Lighter days here we come! It’s also nice though,  to honour this day. Without the darkness we cannot appreciate the light and lots of celebrations around this time of year are about bringing light and hope into our lives.

This morning my yoga practise was very much dedicated to welcoming light into my life. Illuminated by candle light and the Christmas tree lights (this sounds a lot grander than it is!), I did six rounds of sun sequence whilst facing the rising sun, followed by a relaxation focussing on bringing light into the body. I then sat quietly with the practice of Tratak (candle gazing).

After all that I felt energised, yet relaxed and positive about the day ahead.

Helping to clear the mind, strengthen the eyes and stimulate the pineal gland, tratak is a fantastic practice for most of us (contraindicated for epilepsy). The pineal body, situated in the centre of the brain, controls our body rhythms and responds to sunlight – or lack of, in winter – which is why many people feel down and lack lustre during the darker months.

The good news is that we can help to stimulate the pineal body, thereby naturally boosting mood and energy levels.

  1. Try to get out in daylight for at least 15 minutes every day. Even better if you can combine this with a walk.

  2. Light some candles. Candle light is also beneficial to the pineal body.

  3. Practise some candle gazing – sit quietly in a dark room, in front of a lighted candle. Focus on watching the flame, trying to keep your gaze constant and steady. When your eyes feel tired, close them and you can then focus on the image of the flame behind the eyelids.

Let me know how you get on with your own candle gazing experiences, I hope it brings peace and light to your life during this busy time.

So I wish you all a jolly Christmas and a peaceful new year and looking forward to seeing you all at classes in 2012!


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