Try Candle Meditation for Peace and Relaxation
Does your brain feel scrambled by too much negative news, too many social media posts and too busy a schedule? We’ve heard candle meditation can help. It’s a simple form of meditation to calm your mind as you train yourself to focus on one single image: the flame of the candle.
Candle meditation is becoming a popular trend and, since The Beeswax Co. is in the candle-making business, we couldn’t be happier about that. One of the best things about candle meditation is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to be an experienced meditator; people of all ages and walks of life find it useful.
This style of meditation is also called candle gazing meditation or trataka, the Sanskrit word for “to look” or “to gaze”. Candle meditation is believed to help treat a number of conditions — headaches, insomnia, negative thoughts and memory recall. But the main benefits are physical and mental relaxation, and an increased ability to concentrate, both during meditation and during other daily tasks.
How to do candle meditation
In many types of meditation, you close your eyes and focus on a mantra (a specific word) or on a specific type of breathing. But in candle meditation, you keep your eyes open and focus on the flame of a candle.
First, dim the light in the room so the flame of the meditation candle will stand out. Then put the beeswax candle on a table and sit on a chair in front of it. Or if you prefer, sit on the floor cross-legged, and put the candle on the floor about two to three feet away from you. Try to sit with a straight (but not rigid) back.
Take several slow, deep breaths.
Relax your body for a few moments and ease any tension.
Now focus your attention on the candle flame as it flickers and changes shape and color. Do your best not to think of anything else or look at anything else in the room.
If you find yourself thinking unrelated thoughts, don’t worry, that’s completely normal. Just gently bring your mind back to focus on the candle. In time, your focus will likely improve, and it will be easier for you to ignore distractions.
You can blink if you feel the need to blink.
Start with five minutes a day (you don’t want to overdo it and strain your eyes) and gradually increase the time to 10 minutes a day.
For more tips on building a trataka practice, check out this advice from meditation teacher Emily Fletcher.
Choosing your meditation candle
Candles are a particularly powerful object to use for meditation because the gentle flicker of candlelight has a natural lulling motion that allows you to relax more easily. During candle gazing meditation, (with some practice) everything else in the room tends to fade away, including annoying distractions and interfering thoughts.
Of course, we’re biased, but beeswax candles are perfect for meditation for several reasons:
- Compared to paraffin, beeswax burns for much longer – two to five times longer. When it comes down to it, beeswax costs just pennies an hour to burn, so it’s more economical than paraffin over time.
- There is evidence that paraffin candles are toxic, especially scented candles. Paraffin is made from petroleum as a by-product of gasoline. One 2009 study found that burning paraffin wax releases potentially dangerous chemicals, such as toluene. This can cause severe allergic reactions and respiratory issues, among other health concerns.
- 100% pure beeswax candles, on the other hand, release negative ions when burned, which can purify, cleanse and improve air quality while contributing to positive energy flow. Some beeswax (like ours) is so pure, you can actually eat it.
Sarah Britton @mynewroots on Instagram), a popular holistic nutritionist and chef, recently featured our beeswax candles on her blog, where you can find more insights on the health and healing effects of beeswax candles.
When choosing a meditation candle, consider tapers and candlesticks since they have a short minimum burn time. Votives and tealights can work as well. (Pillars should be burned at least 3 hours per burn, which is a long time to meditate!)
Some meditation teachers recommend practicing trakata with candles of different colors, but remember, natural beeswax is best. When it comes to the varying honey colors of beeswax, that means:
- Gold, which is associated with abundance, prosperity and wealth
- Yellow for ambition, inner power, self-esteem and courage
- Orange, linked to sensuality and sexuality, friendship, optimism and happiness
So, give candle meditation a try and see if you don’t feel more relaxed and focused. It’s five minutes well spent, especially if you use the right type of beeswax candle.