Baretoes Yoga and Belly Dance in Tamaqua, USA
Upon returning from one month in Nepal I would like to reflect on some of the things that I learned during a one week yoga intensive up near Pokhara. I was lucky to spend this week studying with one of my favorite teachers, Anthony Scott. This week re-awoke so much knowledge within me. One thing that really stood out was the use of the 'drishti.' Our 'drishti' or 'focused and unwavering gaze' is often used during balance poses such as vrksasana (photo above.) However, the drishti can be used in so many other types of postures during our practice.
Here are a few examples:
While in standing or seated forward fold (paschimottanasana) gaze at the toes. This can be used in many other forward folds as well.
While in warrior I or crescent pose (virabhadrasana 1 or anjenayasana) gaze upward at your touching palms or thumbs.
In downward facing dog (adhomukhasvanasana) gaze towards your thighs or even the belly button.
While in warrior III (virabhadrasana 3) gaze at the front middle finger.
While twisting gaze at a space on the wall/floor behind you.
While practicing pranayama bring you attention/gaze to your third eye with the eyes closed.
Now, why use this focused gaze ?
The most obvious reason is to simply steady the eyes, the mind, and then the body so we can balance. Focus is always a foundation for balancing. With out it we simply cannot balance!
The less obvious reason is strictly to do with the mind. By focusing the eyes on a fixed point such as the toes or thumb we have yet another anchor to this moment. To NOW.
I find that when I follow my thumbs to the ground during the beginning of sun salutation (surya namaskar) I feel so much more 'in tune' and connected to how my body is moving through space and time.
In essence, I feel more purpose in my practice and I believe you will too.
Give it a try.