Candle Gazing Meditation

My Meditation Routine and Rituals: Candle Gazing

There are many ways to approach meditating, but one of my preferred practices is candle gazing meditation. I find that by focusing my attention on a single object, I am able to drop in quicker and deeper into the meditation.

Meditation is an ancient practice that allows us to pull away from our busy lives and focus our attention inwards. It’s a chance to check in, take stock and ground ourselves in the here and now.

I am so glad that more and more people are adopting this powerful practice as part of their regular routines. Research suggests that meditation can not only calm our minds, reduce stress and improve our mental well-being but also enhance our cognitive function, improve our sleep and, in some cases, even make us live longer.

What is candle gazing?

Also known as trataka in Sanskrit, candle gazing is a form of yogic purification and a tantric method of meditation. The word itself means to look or gaze. The idea behind candle gazing is that by giving a single object all of your attention, you can no longer give attention to all the things that worry you in your external world. Instead, you empty your mind and look inwards.

So, why do we choose a candle to focus our attention?

Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, teaches us that the universe is composed of five elements: Akasha (space or ether), Vayu (air), Jala (water), Prithvi (earth) and Teja or Angi (fire). These five elements are condensed into three constitutional types, called doshas, which are Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). Everyone carries different proportions of all three doshas, which determines our physical and mental states.

Fire is the element that helps focus and cognition and makes up part of our Pitta dosha, which governs transformation. By using the candle’s flame to focus our attention during meditation, we are refining our Tejas to enhance our focus and ability to process and gain mental clarity.

Lighting candles
meditating with candle

What are the benefits of candle gazing?

While I have touched on some of the benefits of this type of meditation already, such as improved mental health, sleep and cognition, there’s the added benefit of deepening your spiritual practice.

Fire is transformative. When you gaze at a flame it is constantly flickering and dancing, forever changing its form. It changes things from one to the other by melting, burning or heating. It can either burn hot and quickly destroy everything in its path or slowly smoulder deep in the Earth’s core or internalised body.

By gazing at the candle in a meditative state, the flame transforms us. It takes us beyond the material world and unlocks our third eye chakra in the centre of our forehead. This chakra is all about spirituality and perception, aiding in connecting with our intuition. When we tap in, we can hear what our intuition is telling us, which is where candle gazing can be truly transformative.

How to candle gaze

The beauty of candle gazing is in its simplicity. Anyone can do it by following some easy steps:

  • Find a suitable time of day where you are unlikely to be disturbed – this could be first thing in the morning or just before going to bed
  • Find a dark or dimly lit space you feel safe and comfortable in
  • Place your candle at eye level on a stable surface before lighting
  • Take a few deep cleansing breaths to settle in and focus on your intention
  • Gaze at the candle’s flame and follow its movements
  • Observe your thoughts as they come up without judgement
  • Try to blink as little as possible, and don’t worry if you feel tears beginning to well, let them naturally fall
  • Focus on your eyes merging into one to invoke the intuitive third eye chakra
  • Finish by thanking yourself and taking a moment of gratitude

I’d recommend starting with shorter meditations (around 3-5 minutes) and practising regularly to build it into a daily ritual. Once you feel ready and comfortable, you can extend the length of your meditation if you feel called to do so.

My personal meditation routine

Candle gazing is a formative part of my spiritual practice, which I like to incorporate into my morning routine when I first wake up or as part of my evening ritual 30 minutes before going to bed. Practising at these times is optimal for programming the subconscious mind as it can set you up for a positive day ahead or aid a restful night’s sleep.

I start by cleansing my space by either burning palo santo or sometimes sage before finding a comfortable seated position and settling in. I first start with a mini grounding visualisation practice where I imagine roots growing from my tailbone into the core of the Earth. Once I feel grounded, I light the candle and focus on the flame for my candle gazing meditation. I close my practice by visualising a bright white light surrounding me for protection.

If I want to call on the universe to bring something in particular into my life, I will add some visualisations to aid my manifestations. This is where tapping into your intuition during the candle gazing meditation is so powerful as you can unlock your hearts’ true desires. Once you have that clarity, you can visualise those desires, whether opening a new business, good health or finding your soulmate. End by reciting affirmations in the present tense as though you already have your desires, such as: “I am a successful business owner” to put them out into the universe.

All forms of meditation are beneficial, but I believe candle gazing is a great one to start out with if you’re new to the practice. Having something to lock your gaze on helps train your mind to focus, and it only takes 5 minutes out of your day.

meditating in nature

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
The Autumn Equinox: What It Means For Our Energy

The Autumn Equinox: What It Means For Our Energy

The nights are drawing in, there’s a crispness to the air and tangible shift in energy as we stand on Autumn’s threshold: the Autumn Equinox!

On Friday 23rd September 2022 our sun will cross the celestial equator, basking the northern and southern hemispheres with the same amount of light before continuing its journey south. For those living in the northern hempisphere, this event marks the beginning of our next season with the Autumn Equinox. From this moment our nights will get longer whilst our days grow shorter until the Winter Solstice at the end of December.

What does the Autumn Equinox signify?

Like the Spring Equinox, the Autumn Equinox is a time of balance. It is one of two moments a year when our day is just as long as our night, encouraging us to acknowledge the intricate balance between light and dark.

Traditionally it is a time for farmers to harvest the fruits of their labours throughout the previous seasons and start preserving foods for the coming winter. Similarly, from a spiritual perspective, the Autumn Equinox is a time to metaphorically harvest the goals and intentions we planted earlier in the year and start preserving our energy for the winter to come.

Once we deepen our awareness and connection to nature’s natural cycles, we can feel the energy shift that the promise of the new season brings – this is something you may have already felt in the air but couldn’t put your finger on! Just as in nature, our lives go through growth, harvest, death and rebirth cycles. With the Autumn Equinox marking a time for harvest, it is a poignant moment to practise gratitude, acknowledge our growth and recognise all that we have in our lives. It’s a chance to shift our mindsets from one of lack, and instead focus on prosperity by taking a moment to give thanks.

As we move further into autumn, the shorter days and darker nights challenge us to face the darkness within – to examine and observe our ego and subconscious mind. The cooler months force us to retreat indoors and, therefore, inwards into ourselves, promoting deep thought. As we quietly rest and observe, we make space for new visions to emerge. Resting and stillness during autumn allow us to recharge and signal to the universe that we are ready to activate our next growth cycle once spring arrives.

My Autumn Equinox Rituals

As mentioned, the Autumn Equinox is a powerful time to practise gratitude. You can do this through a small ritual or ceremony either at the time of the equinox or later in the day depending on where you are in the northern hemisphere.

Before beginning my ritual, I clear my space and make it aesthetically appealing to help tap into the mood I want to cultivate. I usually burn camphor (as it has the highest frequency) and light some white and pink candles to invoke self-love. I’ll set the tone for my ritual by listening to some upbeat shamanic music like this or this.

Once settled in my space, I like to begin by drinking cacao, which, in its purest form, is a great heart opener due to its high levels of theobromine. It is believed to deepen our connection to ourselves, our intuition and our inner guide, making it the perfect start to a ritual practice. To fully embrace the open heart energy, I like to surrender to my body with some freestyle movement to bring out my inner child. This is a great way to gently remove any blocks stored in the body and release any stagnant energy.

I end by writing a gratitude list to ground myself in the present and recognise all that I have to be grateful for. The Autumn Equinox is not a time to invite new things or to release, instead, it’s more about taking stock and giving thanks for the changes that come with the passing of time.

As we move through autumn and into winter, the darker, cooler months are a chance for us to be thankful for all our blessings as we edge towards another year around the sun. I hope you find what you need to settle your soul this Autumn Equinox to become more grounded, more grateful and more in tune with yourself.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Veganism beyond the plate

Veganism beyond the plate: How to be vegan in all aspects of your life

It’s no surprise that my spiritual journey led me to veganism. Once I began to recognise and understand the divine energies that are at play, I began to feel more connected to all life. More than just a diet, at its core, veganism is about minimising harm to the planet and the fellow creatures we share it with. That’s why I’m passionate about learning all there is to know about leading a vegan lifestyle in every sense of the word.

From choosing what beauty products to pamper yourself with, to what type of candle to burn in your home, there are plenty of ways to veganise your life beyond what’s on the end of your fork.

Here’s how…

Vegan Beauty

Searching for good-quality, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products can be a bit of a minefield. Just because a company claims to be against animal testing doesn’t mean its products are automatically vegan. Common animal-derived ingredients used within the beauty industry include milk, honey and even snail mucin – all of which have extraction processes that can cause harm to the animals. While the ingredients I’ve mentioned are easy enough to spot on the back of product packaging, the same can’t be said for all animal-derived ingredients.

Here are some surprising non-vegan ones to watch out for:

  • Retinol: an active form of vitamin A, retinol is found in animal liver, whole milk and fish. In cosmetics, however, most retinol is made from synthetic sources and should be vegan-friendly, but worth double-checking!
  • Collagen: a protein found in the hair, skin, nails, bones and ligaments of cows and fish. Whilst there are vegan collagen-boosting products, there isn’t yet a true vegan collagen alternative.
  • Lanolin: is common in lip and hair products to soften and moisturise, but it’s derived from sheep wool, meaning there’s no such thing as “cruelty-free” lanolin. Vegan alternatives include oils like coconut and olive, and butters like shea and coconut.
  • Keratin: another animal-derived protein. This time found in the hair and horns of farm animals. Vegan alternatives include plant proteins like hydrolysed wheat, soy and corn.
  • Shellac: a well-known nail product for its shine and durability, shellac actually comes from lac bugs, which are killed in their hundreds of thousands for people to have shiny nails.

Vegan Wardrobe

Curating a vegan-friendly wardrobe means avoiding clothing made from leather, feathers, fur, wool and silk. The thought of wearing another creature’s skin around my own while knowing the harm and pain it caused to fashion it into an item of clothing is deeply saddening. Rather than fill my wardrobe with cruelty, I like to shop for ethical alternatives without compromising my ability to self-express through fashion.

Luckily, there are lots of vegan-friendly options when it comes to fabric choices as many are plant-based by default, such as cotton, linen, bamboo and hemp. Being plant-based, clothes made from these materials are often more comfortable to wear since they allow our skin to breathe and our bodies to be at ease. There are also many natural alternatives to leather, such as cork and even plant-based leathers made out of oranges, apples and pineapples!

While textiles like rayon, nylon, PVC and polyester are also naturally vegan, there isn’t anything natural about them since they’re synthetic and commonly made from plastic. While you could argue that no animals are directly harmed in the making of a polyester jumper, once it is worn and washed, tiny bits of microplastics get released into the waterways and end up in the ocean. Underwater creatures eat the microplastics mistaking them for food which can cause harm. Instead, opt for clothing made out of recycled polyester or recycled ocean plastic and make sure to use a bag designed to stop microplastics from polluting the ocean.

Vegan Homeware

The home is our sanctuary. Our safe space. Our ritual setting. And, it’s where we can be our most authentic selves. This is why if you are committing to a vegan lifestyle and minimising your harm to other creatures take stock of the items surrounding you.

All items carry the energy of their previous owners. The same goes for items created at the expense of an animal’s life. You can feel the cruelty, pain and sadness vibrating off things made from ivory, bone, tusks, horns and teeth – they hold onto it. Avoid these items to maintain positive energy within your home, or if they are family heirlooms you don’t wish to part with, then try a cleansing ritual to reset the energy balance.

Again, as with your wardrobe, to have a vegan-friendly home, avoid textiles like leather, wool and silk. You can still add texture to your soft furnishings with other vegan-friendly materials like linen cushions or a woven jute rug. Or try out some of the alternatives mentioned earlier.

Any spiritual being will know how important candles are in your tool kit, but many candles are not vegan-friendly since they contain beeswax. Bees work incredibly hard to create the honey and wax designed to feed the hive through the winter. When these stores are harvested for human benefit, the hive’s health is compromised. Fortunately, there are many plant-based alternatives such as soy, coconut or rapeseed wax or a blend of natural vegetable waxes used to make vegan-friendly candles that smell and burn just as good.

I’ve only touched on three areas other than a diet where I think everyone would benefit from being more vegan. Once you start adopting and committing to a fully vegan lifestyle, you’ll really start to see how all creatures are connected and deserving of love and compassion. It’s a magical feeling that’s served to deepen my spiritual practice over the years.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra