Sunday, 10 May 2015

Drishti

Drishti are the gaze points in yoga poses.  The purpose of drishti is to take your mind from external distractions and direct your focus inwards so that you are aware of all the sensations and effects of the pose you are doing. They are especially useful in balance poses. To gaze at a spot that is not moving really helps you to stay balanced.  Try doing Tree Pose with your eyes closed and you will see what I mean!!! Your gaze should be soft in order to avoid creating tension in your body.
Similarly in meditation a drishti can help focus and concentrate the mind.  The drishti in meditation may be a physical object such as a candle or a flower or it may be the third eye, the spot between the eyebrows that is to do with our intuition. Ashtanga yoga has eight drishi which are:-

Nasagrai drishti - down the tip of the nose, in poses such as Upward Facing Dog or standing forward bends



Angusta ma dyai drishti - up at the thumbs as in Warrior 1


Nabi chakra drishti - at the naval as in Downward Facing Dog


Padayoragrai drishti - at the toes as in seated forward bend.


Hastagrai drishti- at the hand as in Triangle Pose


Parsva drishti - to the right or left as in seated twists


Urdhva drishti - up to the ceiling as in Half Moon Balance.


Ajna chakra drishi - at the third eye as in meditation


It is, however important to listen to your own body.  For instance in Triangle pose you might not want to look up at the top hand if you have neck problems.  Instead you might want to gaze at the big toe. In Warrior 1, gazing straight ahead would be a better option if you have neck problems. In seated twists, if you have neck problems keep your chin in line with your breast bone.  However, in Upward Facing Dog it makes sense to look down the tip of your nose, to resist the temptation to look up and so scrunch the back of your neck.
In other words, your practice should be modified to suit your body.

Enjoy your yoga
Namaste
Janet x

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