“If you have no road map, you have to create your own.” —Jacqueline Woodson
Weekly Focus: Drishti — view, gaze, point of focus
Where your gaze goes your attention follows. With a focused and concentrated awareness, we may see the inner view of our external reality, realizing more of the inter-connection of all things. You may have heard the word drishiti in your yoga class when practicing a balancing posture, such as tree pose. Drishti is a highly useful tool in our asana (physical) practice. It can serve many purposes — a focused gaze helps to maintain good balance in a pose such as tree. A focused gaze helps to eliminate distraction, keeping us present and in the moment. A focused gaze can even help us to deepen a physical posture (think looking to the ceiling in triangle). However, the idea of a drishti goes beyond asana or postural yoga. In Sanskrit, Drishti is also defined as a vision, point of view, intelligence or wisdom. Through yoga, we are asked to look beyond surface level evaluations. With a keen gaze and self-awareness, our drishti may help us to realize the divinity or infinite nature present all around us. We must be willing to sit with our focus to find what we seek.
Passive Pose of the Week: Salamba Bhuangasana — sphinx pose
Allow your drishti to fall softly ahead of yourself in this gentle backbend, creating a clear line of vision. Come to your belly. Prop yourself up by bringing the elbows to line up beneath the shoulders, or slightly forward. Your hands may point straight ahead with your middle finger forward. Look out in front of your fingers, about 8 – 10 inches or so. Fix your gaze just in front of you. Not only will this help you become more involved with the pose mentally, but this gaze will help neutralize your neck, and reduce excessive strain or tension. It can sometimes be nice to tuck your chin to your chest and take your gaze to the tip of your nose as well. This will add a gentle stretch to the back of your neck and eliminate visual distraction.
Active Pose of the Week: Parivrtta Hasta Padanghustasana — Dancing Shiva pose
Use a drishti to help you stay focused and balanced in this revolved balancing posture. From standing or mountain pose, lift your right knee up to have about a 90 degree bend at the knee. Turn towards your right knee, bringing your right hand to your hip, and your left hand to the right knee. part of what makes this pose so challenging is the turn into the pose. Let you drishti or gaze be the last thing to move. So as you keep your eyes forward, take one movement at a time, slowly. Knee lifts, chest turns, hands to knee and hips, then the head can turn to the right. Remember to move with control and patience.