Drishti

Be mindful of where you look and the quality of your gaze.

 

Drishti is a yogic technique of focused gaze, and it is an amazing and straightforward tool for developing concentrated attention.  If your eyes wander around the room while practicing yoga, your attention naturally follows and you become distracted.  If you are unable to concentrate because your mind is preoccupied, you create distance from both your external and internal yoga practice.  On a physical level, it is harder to balance and perform poses when your mind is wandering.  Moreoever, when you limit the intake of external stimuli, you reap the benefits of your internal yoga practice by managing and quieting your mind.  Simply put, affixing the gaze helps to steady the body and the mind.

Some styles of yoga suggest a specific drishti for each pose.  It is common to gaze at the navel in Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog), the extended hand in Trikonasana (triangle pose), a fixed point straight ahead in Vrksasana (tree pose), or even at infinity. Your drishti should be focused, but it should not be piercing.  When practicing drishti, keep your eyes soft, and gaze as if looking through to your inner self.  It is a way to metaphorically look inward while simultaneously looking outward. 

Drishti is derived from Sanskrit, and like many Sanskrit words, it has another and deeper meaning. Drishti can also mean your point of view, or intelligence and wisdom.  Your drishti can represent how you choose to view the world.  Do you see the world through the lens of regret, fear, entitlement, or envy, or do you choose to see the world through the lense of gratitude? 

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