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Drishti is more in depth than this article will touch upon but for all intents and purposes when I refer to Drishti here, it will relate to your physical asana on (and a little off) the mat.
Drishti in its basic form speaks to where you look or gaze while meditating or practicing yoga. Your Focus.
“Where you look, your intention and energy follow.”
Drishti helps you balance and concentrate while practicing yoga poses. It can also help you stay in a pose longer and stronger. Drishti teaches you to disregard distractions around you while focusing on what is in front of you. It also helps you get into proper alignment while deepening the pose.
Many of us are distracted during our practice, even if we don’t realize it. People tend to watch others, fix their hair, get a drink of water, think about what they want to do after class or what they are going to eat and this scatters and wastes physical energy.
Drishti during Yoga
Simply put, Drishti helps you keep your balance in poses, especially when you are feeling extra wobbly by focusing on a non-moving point. It is a useful tool for those moments when you think you want to bail out of a rough pose but want to stay a bit longer.
There are several specific Drishti points used during an asana practice.
- Poses like upward facing dog, inversions, wheel, camel and forward fold use a Drishti called Nasagrai where you set your gaze on the tip of your nose.
- Angusta Ma Dyai Drishti is used in poses like warrior one when you look to your thumbs.
- Poses like downward facing dog and rag doll that have you gazing at your belly button it is referred to as Nabi Chakra.
- Urdhva Drishti has you looking upwards or outwards toward the sky, ceiling or wall, as in half moon, chair or eagle pose.
- When you gaze at your hands like in warrior two, triangle or extended side angle it is called Hastagrai.
- Seated forward fold, yogi toe-lock and gorilla have you focusing on your toes and this is called Pahayoragrai.
- Any spinal twisting pose, like supine twist, where you look to the side, the Drishti is called Parasva.
- Naitrayohmadya, also known as Broomadhya Drishti is used with the third eye gaze like in fish.
It is important to say that while practicing Drishti your gaze should be soft and gentle yet intentional, you want the muscles around your eyes to be relaxed.
Practicing Drishti along with ujjayi breath can and will make your practice incredibly powerful, easeful and intentional.
It will keep you balanced, strong and graceful while moving from pose to pose.
Drishti on meditation
Drishti is ideal for improving meditation as it teaches you how to soften your gaze and look to your third eye center. As your gaze softens, your body will also soften, promoting rest and relaxing. Just 10 minutes of purposeful meditation is incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical health. This will not only make your asana practice more easeful, it will also have positive effects in your life off your mat.
Drishti is also very useful off the yoga mat, especially today. Facebook, Instagram, TV, the latest fashion or diet trends. – just about everything is over stimulating and distracting. Drishti can teach you to refocus your attention on what really matters to you. By practicing Drishti you not only set your gaze on what is in front of you but also boost what yoga in general teaches you: to drop things you don’t need – creating more space for the important things. Whether it’s a short term goal, like saving enough money for a plane ticket or a long term goal, like finishing school or starting a new career, Drishti will help you get there.
Once you set your intention or Drishti your thoughts and energy all shift towards meeting your goal. You may even be using Drishti off the mat already, vision boards, writing down your goals and dreams or even talking about them out loud are all forms of Drishti.
How do you use Drishti (or hyperfocus) on the mat? And off the mat?
Let us all know in the comments so we can improve our focus and achieve our goals more easily.