When I was a kid, we used to play a game which involves holding onto an anchored cone and running circles around the cone. This was guaranteed to make us all dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous. It made me wonder how ballerinas can pirouette continuously without losing their balance or steadiness. Years later in a dance class, I learnt about the technique of spotting which involves staring at a fixed point when the body is turning to prevent dizziness and loss of balance. Likewise, during one-legged asanas or arm balances, the teacher often says “gaze at one unmoving spot in front of you” or “find your drishti”. Soon I discovered the eyes are a powerful stabilizer and that our mind tends to follow our eyes. When I close my eyes and lose that physical point to focus on, even a simple tree pose can prove to be challenging. When my eyes start to wander to my neighbour wobbling in half moon pose, suddenly I seem to be falling out of my pose too.
The concept of “drishti” during an asana practice is definitely important in focusing our attention. However, the understanding of “drishti” can extend beyond the mat as well. As the phrase goes, “The world is as you see it.” When our gaze is largely focused on problems and negativity, that is what our minds will fixate on. With this knowledge, perhaps we should try to redirect our gaze to the brighter side of things, channelling our energies towards constructively resolving problems and finding that silver lining in seemingly unfortunate situations.
Vania (YTT200 Jun-Aug’18)