“Where your eyes go, your mind follows” – Jess @ The Yoga Mandala
So what do I frequently look at on a typical day? The answers are hardly surprising, it’s our standard modern life essentials – phones and laptops. I spent hours replying to work emails, and when I was off work, Netflix and other social media immersion was how I used to decompress. I was often absorbed in imaginary lives that had nothing to do with mine. My mind and thoughts were consumed by the apathy and misery that reeked out of most work emails and the seemingly perfect lives lived on screens.
Rarely did my eyes catch a break from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and little was my awareness on the matter. It wasn’t until after the first week of the YTT200 course that I realised my screen time had dramatically reduced and I no longer felt the constant urge to retreat to a world inside screens.
Dristhi is the Sanskrit term loosely translated to a focused gaze, meant for developing concentrated intention. “It relates to the 5th limb of yoga, pratyahara, concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the 6th limb, dharana, relating to concentration.”
“Focus. Focus just on yourself.” Jess would remind us during difficult balancing poses, “Remember to breathe and look at your OWN drishti!” – as one of us trembles out of the pose, our gaze fights the natural instinct to follow. The moment my mind gives in to follow my eyes to anything but our inner focal point, I fall out of the pose with no control.
There are bound to be moments and even seasons in life when we feel “lost”, not necessarily on what to do everyday, the inertia of being an employee, a daughter, a friend, a wife and or whatever role we have, just seems to be too strong a tide to swim against. And when the tidal wave of the external noises engulfs you, our sense of self is drowned out.
And this is where I’d like to meditate on the very idea of having a Dristhi and applying that to my life on and off the mat. Now, having a mechanical visual fixation during asanas seems a lot more attainable than having a clear vision of who I want to be. But that is the purpose of yoga for me, even if it’s just for a glimpse of a moment, I get to experience the mundane turning into the divine and purposeful.
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