For the purpose of description we will use a candle flame as the inner-image. There are 4 steps. Don’t proceed to the next stage until you have achieved competency in the preceding stage.
Step 1: Preparation
First of all sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, keeping them closed throughout the entire practice. Practise kaya sthairyam.
Be totally aware of the steadiness of the whole body. Feel that the body is unmoveable and fixed on the ground; a part of the ground. Continue to practise kaya sthairyam for a few minutes. Become aware of the eyebrow centre (or bhrumadhya). Without undue strain focus your attention on the sensation on the skin between the two eyebrows. Try to think of nothing else but the eyebrow centre. Continue in this manner for a few minutes, until you can feel a definite sensation at that point. Then proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Inner visualization
Try to visualize the flame of a candle at the eyebrow centre. At first most people will find it difficult to see only a candle flame; these people should adopt the method that we have given at the end of this description or any other method that will help them to create a clear inner-image. Try to hold the image at the eyebrow centre. If the image fades or disappears, don’t worry but merely try to recreate it again. Keep the image steady at the eyebrow centre. When the internal picture is steady and you have no difficulty creating a clearly defined image proceed to step 3. Don’t begin step 3 until you have mastered step 2, even though it may take a few days or weeks.
Step 3: Breath awareness
Stare intently at the inner-image. Then you have to be simultaneously aware of your breath. Practise ujjayi pranayama and khechari mudra3. As you breathe in you should imagine that the flow of air is moving from the eyebrow centre backwards to the back of the head. At the same time be aware of the sound of the breath caused by ujjayi pranayama. As you breathe out you must try to feel that the air is moving forwards from the back of the head to the eyebrow centre. Furthermore, you have to imagine and feel that the image is moving backwards and forwards.
As you inhale, feel the sound and backward movement of the breath and also the image being almost pulled backwards. Then you exhale; be aware of the sound and the forward motion of the breath while feeling that the image is being almost pushed forwards. Try to do this with every breath. At first it is difficult, but with practice it becomes easier and easier. Eventually one feels in a sense that it is perfectly natural for the breath to move to and fro in the head. Carry on in this manner for at least 10 minutes or more.
Step 4: Looking into the image
Now leave ujjayi pranayama, khechari mudra, together with awareness of the breath and the accompanying sound. Now you have to investigate the nature of the image. You must try to pierce through the exterior reality of the inner-image. Look intently at the image and try to probe its shape and nature. Gaze into the candle flame as though you are looking for something. See the wick in the middle of the flame. Try to gaze into the depths of the flame. Feel and see the aura of the flame penetrating your mind. Perceive as much detail as you are able. Feel the collected rays of your awareness probing the flame in an attempt to discover its deeper significance. What is the nature of the flame? What is the deeper essence behind what you can see? Continue in this manner for at least 5 or 10 minutes or until the end of the practice.
The longer you practise the better, especially if you have an exceptionally clear inner-image. Then release the image and be aware only of your eyebrow centre. And when you are ready open your eyes.