“Inhale. Exhale. Grab your toe. Inhale. Open your chest. Left hand straight up. Exhale. Look at your hand and breathe for five breaths. One…two..”.Hmm, I need a pedicure...”Three…” God, look at her triconasana…”Four…” That’s a cute top….”Five. Inhale, arms up…”
Sound familiar? No doubt the person on the mat next to you has also wandered off; in breath, in thought, in intention. It’s human. We think. And, slowing down thoughts requires as much practice as does a jump-back. In fact, it may be harder.
Part of a satisfying yoga practice comes with one’s level of focus. At times, I’ve gone through my hour plus of breath and movement feeling not much more centered or grounded than when I began. I find my pose and eyes wander to the tree outside the window, ears pick up on the bass of music nearby, I get a whiff of grilling garlic (the neighbors are cruel like that). Inevitably, my mind drifts into conversations earlier in the day and what the heck I’m going to make for dinner.
This is where the drishti comes in. A sanskrit word meaning focused gaze, the drishti is the point of visual focus where the gaze rests during a posture or during meditation. It is a piece of the practice that allows one to eventually look inward while blocking out other perceptive distractions. Your consciousness has a chance to go deeper than the surface because let’s face it, your toes are not that interesting. Pretty soon the drishti becomes an entry point into yourself. When really using this as a tool in practice, what happens is a connection between movement and breath, body and mind, intention and spirit.
Stepping off the mat, it works too.
It’s a technique that can be used in other areas of life where outward vision and inward awareness meet. So, where is it helpful to find drishtis in every day life? How are your actions reflecting your core values, uncovering your deep truths, fulfilling your needs?
- Locate that focus point (dream job, healthy body, desired relationship).
- Look at it; a lot (write out a mantra, make a board on pinterest, talk about it positively).
- Breathe (make space for things to manifest, room for growth).
- Act with intention (smile and kick fear to the curb).
Losing your drishti in your yoga or life practice happens. The work is to blur out distractions, get centered, and focus.