Close your eyes. Gaze at the after-image. Gaze at the inner-image in the same way as you did the outer object. Be aware of both the internal candle flame and the breath. If the image is not clear, don’t worry; merely be aware of whatever you can see. As you breathe in, feel the breath moving backwards from the flame in front of the closed eyes to the back of the head. Try to feel that you are drawing the image backwards. As you breathe out, imagine that the breath is being pushed forwards to the closed eyes. Carry on in this way. Inhale and almost pull the image and the breath backwards. Exhale and push the image and the breath forwards. All the time your awareness should be on the image and the breath. Continue khechari mudra and ujjayi pranayama throughout. Because you are practising ujjayi you should hear a continuous sound emerging from the region of the throat; try to be also aware of this sound, but integrate it with the movement of the breath from the eyebrow centre to the back of the head. In this way imagine that the sound arises as the breath moves to and fro through the head.
Try to become totally absorbed in the practice. Continue until the image becomes vague or disappears. Then open your eyes and repeat stage 2 for a few minutes, if possible without flickering your eyes (those who wish to practise breath awareness continuously can miss stage 2 and start the next round with stage 3.) Then proceed to stage 3 and repeat the whole process. Continue in this manner for the duration of the practice. At the end of the practice keep your eyes closed for a few minutes and merely watch the black space (chidakasha) in front of the closed eyes. Be a witness to any thoughts or psychic visions that may arise.
Then open your eyes and blow out the candle.
Division of practice
The longer one is able to practise the internal steps of the practice the better. In other words, if you find that you can easily retain a clear inner-image, reduce or even eliminate the external steps. Of course, if you cannot see a clear after-image you should increase the duration of the external steps.
The number of rounds or repetitions depends entirely on your ability to retain the inner-image. Those who are more proficient will perhaps only need to do one round, for they will be able to hold the inner-image throughout the duration of the practice. Beginners, on the other hand, will have to do a number of repetitions according to their proficiency and the duration of the practice.
As much as possible maintain awareness of the candle flame, the movement of the breath and the resulting sound, depending on the step being practised.
For other information on benefits, precautions, or problems to be overcome refer to the previous trataka lesson.