Introduction: This simple exercise of producing a vivid image floating in space before your eyes can be a profound experience. While it has a physiological basis it nevertheless creates a true mental image external to the body.
Tratak is a yogic technique used to stimulate the brow chakra and your psychic perception. It is essentially practiced by staring at a particular object until the eyes water, and then closing the eyes to see an after-image, or looking at a white surface for the after-image. Some people practice this by staring at a candle flame in darkness, and then closing the eyes to see the after-image. As an additional visual exercise, move this after-image about, and practice holding the image for greater lengths of time.
Another effective technique is to perform tratak on small pieces of colored paper in the primary colors and then seeing the complementary color in the after-image. Even better is to use Tattwa Cards, which are composites of two complementary colors into a single image of the Tattwas that represent the primary elemental forces operating throughout the universe. These practices directly stimulate the brow chakra and train your ability to visualize and imagine an image in specific detail.
However, the actual experience of seeing the after-image appearing to float in space in front of your closed eyes, outside the body, is more than a visual trick. The more definitive your visualized images, and the more you practice moving them, the more you are increasing your psychic perception and your ability to manipulate subtle energies.
Anything can be improved. One way to do so is to combine the tratak practice with seeing yourself in the mirror. Standing, or seated if necessary for your comfort, see yourself in a full length mirror as before but now stare without blinking for as long as possible directly at your image. When you have to close your eyes, do so and visualize your image, and then repeat tratak five or six times per session. Eventually you will see your aura—and a thought-form of your astral body.
You can also practice without the mirror, comfortably seated; performing tratak with your eyes only half open and without focusing on any particular object. It will take time, but persistence will bring success.
Summary of Purpose & Benefits: Provides stimulus of Brow Chakra and the ability of self-induced Mental Imagery.