Drishti, Where the Eyes Go the Mind Follows
Drishti is the meditation gazing point we focus on while performing poses. Drishti is a gaze not a stare and often the description is of “soft focus” or the gentle flow of one’s eyes toward a focal point. There should be even a slight blurring of one’s eyes in the gaze. It also relates to the fifth limb of yoga called Pratyahara concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb Dharana relating to concentration. These focal points can trigger proper alignment and deepen our concentration on the present moment. When we practice, particularly in a studio it certainly is not unheard of to glance about, look at others performing poses, get monkey mind in comparing yourself to others and if you’re taking a mid-day class it may be tempting to look at the clock. If your teacher employs the Drishti into each one of your poses your gaze will always move and stay softly focused in the direction of the pose instead of anything else that catches your attention in the room.
The Drishtis are:
1. Third eye or Anja Chakra - Eyes are halfway or fully closed and gazing toward the space between the eyebrows.
2. Nose or Nasagre - Eyes are looking toward the bridge of the nose (soft focus) Camel Pose.
3. Navel Chakra or Nabi Chakra – Eyes look toward the navel in poses like Downward Facing Dog
4. Hands or Hastagre - Look at the hand that is stretched or extending like in extended Wide-Angle Pose
5. Toes & Feet or Padayoragre - In Forwarding Bends or Seated Forward Bends our eyes gaze to our feet or toes
6. Right or left (sideways) Parshva Drishti -In Seated Spinal Twists like Half Lord of the Fish Pose we gaze softly sideways.
7. Thumbs or Angushta Ma Dyai - Upward Solute, the first move in Sun Salutations we use the thumbs to gaze upward but not at the sky. The gaze is between the nail and the thumb joint.
8. Sky or Urdhva Drishti (gaze is upward) like in Fish Pose
In some ways, the gaze is a natural element of going into a pose. In a forward bend, for example, we may naturally look at our toes or feet on our way into the poses as a point of concentration. But while innate in theory this simple tool implemented and introduced into each pose solidifies the direction of the body and naturally if I am concentrating on my toes, I am not looking at the person next to me or consumed with any other distraction.
Yoga helps us in a myriad of ways. We understand that in performing poses we are getting our bodies ready for seated meditation. In seated meditation, we use the Drishti Anja Chakra to gaze at the space between our eyes and focus our concentration. I close my eyes and focus but many others do not and simply gaze softly. We can even see this in the art and statuary of the East. If you are having any trouble in your poses you may want to consider studying the full spectrum of each pose that includes this special tool. It can be a game changer in your Yoga routine.
All Comments Welcome!! Please give us your experience with this Technique!
Sat Nam ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ
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