Yoga Inspiration: Day 8, Where do you focus?

“Ustransana” by Sybilleart at etsy.com

Week two has started off well! While doing my yoga sequence this evening, I thought about different themes I could have for my posts these next few weeks. The first idea that popped into my head was Drishti. Maintaining a good Drishti is very difficult for me in most practices, so the challenge to focus on it better seemed right.

Drishti translates from Sanskrit into “Focused Gaze.” During my yoga teacher training, my instructor Monica constantly emphasized how changing our Drishti, or where we look, changes our practice. It can change how a posture feels, helps maintain sharp mental focus, and affects the spine as we shift and root into different postures.

The phrase that embodies the purpose of Drishti is, “You want to look where you are going.” Every time I stop and pay attention to my Drishti, I notice how often, especially in a yoga studio, my eyes wander to other people around me. Because I focus on other practitioners, I lack special insight into my practice and start comparing myself to them. But on rare occasions, I take special care in how I use my gaze to move forward. 

An unfocused gaze invites in negative comparisons, imbalanced poses, and a wandering mind.

A focused gaze encourages mindful self reflection, a healthy elongated spine, and slows down thoughts.

Just like in other aspects of a yoga practice, a strong Drishti morphs into other aspects of life. Pondering Drishti makes me wonder where I am looking and where I want to go. I still love how the Cheshire Cat answered Alice’s simple question, “What road do I take?”, in Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland.

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”

The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland

This is why yoga can’t be a casual thing. Because yoga is a moving meditation, it requires more from us physically, mentally, and eventually spiritually. That is if we are willing to be fully committed to the journey. I know my yoga journey started because of less than spiritual reasons. (My pride hurt because a yoga exercise video kicked my butt.) But it has evolved over the years, and the more I practice the more focused I become. I understand better my yoga goals and how I want them to apply to my everyday life.

For today, I am grateful I could take the time to ponder my Drishti both during yoga and off the mat.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.