Yoga drishtis direct how to channel the energy of the mind through gazing; it is for the purpose of removing attachments to the mind-stuff (chitta) so momentum may gradually build. This way the freedom from mind chatter become more constant, lasting and the mind becomes adaptable, like water. Flow of breath and motion from posture to posture, as well as stillness on a fixed point for meditation is firmly established creating a potential for the greatest rejuvenation of the practitioner.
To apply the 9 most common gazing points, remove hindrances such as distractions of cluttering in the space of practice, clear dullness of the mind and laziness in the energy through cleansing the body outside as well inside the body. Consume water rich, living produce especially greens. When tamasic forces of inertia are minimized success in practice can be more easily achieved, especially important in the beginning. It appears that the mind requires more discipline than the body.
It is said that an elephant resides in the mind; elephants are curious, intelligent beings, capable of problem solving, and possessing clear social ethics. Elephants are strong, 100% vegan and able to go forward when immense taxation is pressing their endurance, all the while the goodness of the entire group in held in consciousness. If it is an elephant in the mind, cleanse it’s fluids by practice of deep breathing, give care in every movement and support the focus. Human and elephant alike thrive on positive affirmation and a satisfying rest to assimilate all benefits of today’s experience.
Drishtis (gazing points) intercept old patterns of the mind thus freedom for creative new thoughts, playful energy comes to the surface. This is true whether the drishti is employed with eyes open or closed.
Long visual pre-occupations on external objects, events and their meanings concentrate vital energies to pour out through the eyes. Correction of balance between out-looking vs. inward looking can be initiated through the utilization of drishti techniques during practice of the asanas. The practice then ceases to be a mere imitation or performance. Regular practice of drishtis strengthen the focus, calm the emotions, and as well, powers up the muscles, nerves, tissues that make up the eyes. Regular practices using Drishtis bring into focus our ability to make better choices on and off the mat.
Gazing points for the Yoga Postures
- Nasagrai / just beyond the tip of the nose
- Bhrumadhye. / space outward from between the eyebrows
- Nabhi Chakra / The navel
- Hasagrai / The hand
- Podhayoragrai / The toes
- Parsva Drishti / Far to the right, or far to the left
- Urdhva Drishti / upward gazing
- Angusthamadhye / The thumbs
- Urdhva Drishti or Antara Drishti/ Up to the sky
One of the best way to learn when to use each Drishti is through doing the asanas under the guidance of a teacher who will initiate timing for the breath, count and as well teach the gazing (drishtis) so one may become familiar and comfortable through direct experience. Breath follows intention, Movement follows Breath; Eyes follow the movement. The count allows observation of union between intention and breath… showing the practitioner (Sadhaka) how to adjust him or herself. The Gaze becomes effortless when intent/breath is neither hurried nor sleepy. After some time in regular practice one may become aware of a seemingly deep rhythm that runs like a thread throughout the body during the practice. This deep impenetrable pulse will strengthen and carry the practice like a current, and marks the birth/awakening of the Yogic ‘high’ or bliss consciousness.
Buddha statues with eyes either closed or half closed represent Bhrumadhye Drishti. That is staring at the outward space before the eyebrows.
Trataka is a purification drishti that gazes just beyond the tip of the nose (Nasagrai) or a lit candle some distance away set near to eye level.
At the beginning of Sun Salutation on an exhalation the hands are brought together in prayer mudra; the drishti is ‘Angusthamadhye’ (gazing on the thumbs) is often applied. This posture engages the vital forces in throat (Udana Vayu). Energies of self-expression, speech, will power and mental clarity are improved.
May all beings be at peace and prosper, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.
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