Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga
There are many ways a Candle can bring its happiness, here I have listed ways in which it can play a part in a more mindful way.. but there is nothing simpler than just lighting a candle curling up inviting in its Aroma and watching the flame dance..
TRATAKA and its Wonderful Benefits
“Looking intently with an unwavering gaze at a small point until tears are shed” Hatha Yoga Padipika
Such a simple act of gazing at a candle can have so many benefits for the Mind, Body and Spirit. The focussing practice of Trataka has been practiced probably for centuries. It is invigorating for the eyes and muscles to the eyes, it is cleansing for the eyes, purifying the body, combats fatigue, and is said to relive anxiety, depression and insomnia if practiced regularly improves concentration and stillness in the mind. Its practice is also said to enhance Spiritual inner Vision as it works its light into the 3rd eye Ajna Chakra and lights your inner fire Surya Sahana in the Solar Plexus Manipura Chakra.
It is actually considered a form of Hatha Yoga, meditative in nature, focussing on stillness, peace and calm which in turn slows the breath. Because it is done with the eyes open it can be beneficial to those wanting to explore meditation and need something to focus upon and who find it hard to be still.
How to practice Trataka
Choose a room that is warm and cosy, no draughts, where you feel safe, secure and preferably where you won’t be distracted or disturbed.
Choose a level surface for your candle to sit on that is not going to move, and importantly ensure it is away from all flammable materials.
The candle needs to be at eye level and you need to sit approximately 2 feet away, so either choose a seat on the floor with cushions and bolsters or a chair at a table. Have with you a blanket or shawl to wrap around you as you gaze, as you sit in stillness your body will naturally become cooler. When you sit ensure you are sat upright on your sit bones, not slouching your shoulders or sitting with a rounded spine, sit tall shoulders relaxed and back, your chin should sit in a neutral position, not jutted upwards or dropping down. And when beginning you should sit in stillness as much as possible so ensure your body is completely comfortable and warm, when you are fully prepared and ready you can begin.
Lighting the candle begin to gaze into the middle of the flame, just above the top of the wick. Allow your eyes to feel soft yet focussed (you are not staring your candle out!) Hold your eyes steady continue to hold the gaze, watch the candle dance and flicker, images may come and go in your minds eye, issues may arise, thoughts will travel into your mind, allow them in and then allow them to pass, as you gaze take time to focus upon your breath, try to “Slow” the breath, but not “Control” it, allow your breath to become steady and relaxed and when comfortable try to encourage a lengthening of the out breath, slow and steady without strain.
Continue to hold the gaze until your eyes begin to smart and you feel you cannot hold your eyes open and need to blink, when this happens very gently close your eyes.. allow the cleansing tears to fall do not rub or wipe away your tears, then take your gaze inwards focussing the image of the flame in-between your eyebrows to the Ajna Chakra, closely linked with the Pineal and Pituitary Gland. Over time your eyes will strengthen and you may be able to hold the gaze for longer periods. But don’t be harsh or judge yourself, honour your body and be kind to yourself.
Health and Safety
Whilst burning your Innersense Wellbeing Candle
Never leave a burning candle unattended. Burn candles out of reach if children and pets (see additional fur baby information below) Always leave at least 10cm between burning candles. Do not burn candles on or near anything that can catch fire. Only burn your candle on a level heat resistant surface.
Never burn a candle for more than 4 hours at a time. Do not allow the flame to touch the glass. On the first burn, always burn till the candle has fully melted on top to ensure an even melt pool. Ensure the wick is upright, above the wax and central before the wax sets. Always trim the wick to 5 mm before lighting to avoid smoking the tin may become hot during use so please do not pick up when lit. Extinguish when 5mm of wax remains and do not relight.
Although the wax and essential oils are natural, they are in high concentrations, therefore there is still an element of caution that needs to be observed.
Never apply the wax direct to your skin, can cause irritation or burn the skin. Never apply to the eye area, if wax should enter the eyes rinse immediately and apply an eyebath. Seek immediate medial or optician advice. Never ingest (eat) the candle, this can cause serious long term damage to your health. Always dispose of your candle responsibly and appropriately recycling and reusing wherever possible, never pour unused wax down drains, toilets, sinks as substances are harmful to aquatic life, dispose carefully by scraping all reside out of the glassware and disposing in an appropriate bin.
How to Effectively Use Your Innersense Candle –
Get more out your wonderful wellbeing candle by following there few steps..
Firstly trim the wick to a 1/4 inch long before every burn – this gives a cleaner brighter burn, otherwise a “mushroom” shape appears on the top which dulls the flame.
Let the wax melt fully across the top of the candle on each and every burn, this is an essential to prevent the candle from “tunnelling”. Burning the candle first burn can take a little longer, so take time to do this correctly, this will ensure a clean burn all the way down.
Quick Tip** If your candle “tunnels” light your candle, wrap foil around the whole top of candle leaving a small hole where the wick is. Place on a flat surface out of reach of children, pet and any hazzards, allow to burn for an hour or two and the wax should even out. Alternatively use a hairdryer on high heat to melt the top of the candle.
Fur Babies and Essential Oils
As a household of Cat and Dog Lovers, it is important to note that when using (or burning) essential oils, cats in particular can be susceptible to the effects of essential oils as they do not possess the correct enzymes to break the oils down correctly within their system as humans have. It is therefore important to follow a few safety measures for the health and wellbeing of our beloved furry friends.
Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the room. If your cat is around only burn for a short amount of time. After burning always ensure the room is well ventilated for your pet to return.
Oils that are classed as unsafe for cats are Menthol, Nutmeg, Tea tree (in large doses), Penny Royal.
“Wherever you are,
be there totally”
We all know how fast paced our lives have become, but in recent years there has been a shift, a change. Growing in popularity yoga and meditation has become the go to for life’s enrichment on many levels as we have discovered its many health and wellbeing benefits. Long thought of as only available to the super bendy yogis sat pretzel legged on a rock with a golden haze of enlightenment surrounding them in a state of higher consciousness, nowadays the more regular folk are seeking out ways of including it into their lifestyle for wellness. Though it is not the cure it can be a fantastic tool to facilitate in reducing stress, taking control of anxieties, promotes a healthy mindset, lengthens concentration, attention span, increases memory, improvement of sleep, enhances own self awareness, decrease blood pressure, control pain levels and importantly shows kindness to yourself and others (Try the Metta Meditation below) the more you practice the better and more positive you will feel.
A "Very" Basic Guide to a Micro Meditation
As with Trataka, it is important to find yourself a quiet space away from distractions, noise, TV etc… choose to sit either in a chair or cross legged with cushions and bolsters.
It is said to perform meditation in the mornings as cortisol levels in our bodies spike, so therefore, morning practice reduces the levels from the onset and also importantly places you in a better state of mind for the rest of the day.
I have adapted guidance from Gelong Thubten who I am particularly drawn to, but I have listed below a few experts in the field for you to find your own..
Set 10 minutes aside for your meditation, if it isn’t available to you do it at a time that it is.. that way you won’t be distracted or disturbed with thoughts of shopping work or what to have for tea!
3 steps to follow when beginning to meditate…
Think about “why” you are doing it.. what is the purpose what are you trying to achieve? Is it to become more kind, calmer, more patient for example? Then also ask yourself how is this benefitting others – family friends the whole planet? Spend a few moments thinking about this… Motivate with a positive intention, a “Sankalpa” “My body is calm” “I am Patient” “I feel contentment ” for example…
The more you try to still the mind the harder it becomes, so don’t be involved in trying to clear it and be “empty”, if thoughts drift in, don’t get over involved but let them go..
Then refocus upon your breath, it’s having the power of “Choice” and being Kind to yourself, being patient and with regular practice.
Be aware of your body assess how your body feels, as you settle visit your inner self gently and slowly allow your body the permission to release itself, soften the muscles let go of tension, inwardly massage your body gently with the breath, become friends with yourself. Feel the connection it may feel to the earth, the points of contact you have to the floor, to your chair, the fabric of your clothes, how comfortable or uncomfortable are you, as you fo this make enquiry as to whether you can create more comfort in your position before you begin, sitting with your sit bones into the chair or floor, maybe a small bolster towards the back of your bottom assists in tilting the pelvis slightly forwards and elongates the spine. As you sit, pull your midline upwards straightening gently and kindly to your own body’s own natural ability, have your chin in a neutral position facing forward. Find the gentle “Hum” within your body, focus on your hands and feet in particular where you may feel is more easily, this is vital energy, Prana, Aliveness. You do not need to close your eyes simply avert your gaze slightly down and soften your focus, some find a point of focus or drishti often assists.
The Breath, be aware of your breathing but don’t try to change it, it doesn’t have to change at all, question where you feel the breath leaving and entering, how does it feel warm cool, focus your concentration on the very slight breath of air brushing against your skin around the point of your nostrils, feel the breath filling your lungs, flowing in and out, the luscious pause of stillness in-between the in and the out breath. if your mind drifts, bring it back to the breath, to the nostrils, to the sensations, if it drifts do it again, it is all down to practice.
Place hands palm down on your knees (over time you may find different Mudras (yogic hand gestures) to suit your needs.
Go through each stage 1 to 3 then set your time… Time your session to send a gentle note from your phone when 10 minutes is complete, then repeat 3 back to 1 concluding with your own personal enquiry…why you are motivated to meditate?
When completed spend a few moments, how do you feel? Make notes, start a journal it gives a real sense of how it has effected your body, your mind, your wellbeing, reading your development and reflecting upon it.
Metta "Loving Kindness" Meditation
This meditation encourages friendliness, kindness, patience to others removing obstacles with foes and letting go of anger towards them and importantly to show patience and love to yourself..(Maitri- a Buddhist philosophy of being kind to yourself and others)
Preparing as discussed above for meditation..
Bring to mind firstly yourself and repeat the meditation 3 times, using the word “I”
Then bring to mind a loved one and repeat the words 3 times, using the word “You”
Then bring to mind someone who you have neutral feelings for and repeat the words 3 times, using the word “You”
Then bring to mind someone who you do not see eye to eye with, maybe you irritate each other or feel resentment towards each other and repeat the words 3 times, using the word “We”
“May I be happy”
“May I be healthy”
“May I be free of suffering”
“May I be free of mental anxiety”
“May I live in peace”
“May my life be blessed with ease”