“The eye is the jewel of the body.” ~Henry David Thoreau
If you’ve been practicing yoga for any length of time, you may have heard the word “drishti”. In Sanskrit, drishti means gaze. We use drishti in our yoga classes to help us with our ability to focus and concentrate in poses, especially ones that are challenging.
However, drishti also means vision, point of view, and wisdom. It’s how you see the world. In the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, it is said that we practice yoga in order to lift the veil of misperception, to remove the various mental obstacles that make us see things in a false light. With practice, we achieve a clear and true perspective of the world.
In every yoga pose, there is generally a prescribed drishti which assists concentration, aids movement, and helps orient your energy. Different styles of yoga may have differences in what the drishti is for each pose, but in general, it’s a point where you can gaze softly and focus your attention. Since we can easily become distracted in our poses and let our eyes wander all over the place, it’s important to find a spot in each pose where you focus your eyes, feeling steady and energized. Where our gaze is directed, our attention follows.
We’ll be working on the practice of drishti in class this week. But remember, the point of attention is not merely a physical spot in the room. It is also everything about the present moment you are experiencing, and being able to see yoga in all its aspects (mind/body/breath).