Yoga teachers say a lot of funny stuff. "Shine your heart forward!" "Eyes of the elbows facing one another." "Grow taller!" So many of these phrases sound ridiculous when heard outside of the studio. And what about the Sanskrit words? Who thought they'd be exposed to an entire new language on the yoga mat? Today, I want to break down a particularly odd-sounding word that gets tossed around: Drishti.
Drishti is a technique of finding a focal point during your practice, to help the mind turn inward.
By controlling some of the distractions around us, our practice becomes more of a moving mediation than moving through poses because a teacher tells us to.
If you're like me, you find a drishti - or focal point, and then casually glance at the person next to you, Oh her, yoga pants are so fun ... bah! Mind back inward - drishti. Turning head casually to the right, Oh the Elk on the wall is so random ... shoot! mind back inward - drishti. And yes, this is OK! The art of the redirect is precisely what yoga is all about. Learning (and practicing!) the control of our monkey mind. There are so many distractions at our fingertips; controlling the mind is more difficult — and more crucial — than ever before.
And then there's drishti off the mat, or what I like to call: My point of attraction. The idea that what we want — our point of attraction — is what we're actively working to manifest, or bring into our experience. In yoga, we have a focal point because we seek a clear mind. In life, we focus on whatever we clearly want. It's the same!
There are so many times running business when I've thought to myself, "I hope I don't fail," or some iteration of that. And according to drishti, we focus on what we want to bring more of into our life, right? So if I spent my whole day focusing my energy on "I hope I don't fail," I am actively bringing more of "fail" into my life because I'm focusing on it. An unintended, negative consequence. Wouldn't it be more productive to focus on an idea like, "I know I will succeed"...which one sounds more appealing? Success, right?!
So we have this balance with yoga off the mat — withdrawal from ideas, impressions and associations that don't serve our higher good (like me bringing "fail" into my experience), while at the same time opening up to the ideas, impressions and associations that we want to bring more of into our space (Success! More of that, please!). And that, my friends, is drishti in a nutshell.
Want more of those positive vibes and self study? I'm opening up two spaces in next weekend's Wild Woman Workshop (May 21st) at our off the grid yurt. Mala making, yoga, self study and nourishing food - whew! Email me if you're interested.
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.