I invite you to draw your attention to your eyes. Draw your attention to what you see, to where you look. Above all else, I invite you to notice how you see things. This attention to what we see and how we see it is an ancient yogic practice called "Drishti."
In early 2005, while receiving my bachelors, I took my first Neuropsychology course as part of my Psychology degree requirement. One of my favorite things to study was the eye's relationship to the brain. For instance, stilling our eyes sends signals to our parasympathetic nervous system that everything is okay. As a result, we feel calm. Rapidly moving our eyes sends signals to our brain that things are not okay. As a result, we tend to feel anxious and overwhelmed.
Use Drishti to turn your mind from distraction to direction.
This is a practice of your vision that helps calm our mind and sooths feelings of anxiety. Drishti is also a practice of your inner vision, which is the vision that helps you imagine, plan, and set goals.
Let's learn to calmly set our Drishti's in order to bring more peace into our minds while gaining the ability to envision what we want to create in our lives.
What is Drishti?
Drishti is a Sanskrit term that has several levels of meaning.
A simple way to translate drishti into English is "the gaze". Is it about what we see. Where we place our eyes.
Another, and equally important, meaning of drishti is not just "what" you see, rather it is "how" you see it. It is to see people, circumstances, and yourself without judgment; to see things neutrally.
Learn to gaze outward as you bring your focus inward.
On the yoga mat:
On our mats, drishti is seeing one unmoving point. It is seeking the stillness within the flow.
The first thing that drishti offers in your yoga practice is creating balance. Having a clear focus point in your asana (the physical practice) will help you find your center and connect with the stability within your own body.
The next thing drishti can help create in your practice is a focused intention. When we set our eyes onto one object, we are helping our brain focus on the here and the now. We are supporting ourselves to access the present moment. When we focus our eyes, we focus our minds.
When drishti is incorporated into all of your postures, it is training your mind to stay with the present moment. When drishti is practiced on your mat, you are teaching yourself to stick with experiences as they are happening without judgement. This is to "be with" the moment.
Off the mat:
In your life, gaining drishti means to have a clear "vision" with your goals, intentions, and what you want to create in your life. Here are some ways we can strengthen the power of our drishti:
Set an intention for each day: Each morning ask yourself, "what is one word, or a mantra, that will help inspire me through the challenging or distracting moments of my upcoming day?" For example; peace, "I am supported", empowerment, "I am worthy", determination, self-love, patience, breath.
Write your goals out on paper: doing this can be the first step to actively making your vision into reality.
Tell your friends and family about your dreams: when others around know what you wish to achieve, they can become a wonderful support system for you during moments where you may think it is no longer worth it or you're feeling down on yourself