9 Yoga’s Drishti: Power of Gaze in Ashtanga Yoga

If we need to describe yoga in one word, then it would be ‘awareness’. Unaware mind causes suffering and alert or awake mind creates freedom. Yoga is awareness. There are many tools in yoga which bring us alert. Either Poses or Pranayama or Meditation, all tools have one object; how to be alert. Drishti or gaze is also one of the alertness techniques in yoga. By directing the gaze at specific points the focus directed inward. Allowing the eyes to wander creates distractions that flow prana (vitality) out of us. Drishti makes you able to focus your energy inwards and to stay centered.
Within each pose there is a focal point towards which you direct your gaze. There are nine focal points called Nava Drishti:
1st Drishti
Name: Nasagrai Drishti
Looking Place: Tip of the nose
Pose Example: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana and in most often in the siting postures like Baddha Padmasana
Name: Bhoomadhya Drishti or Ajna Chakra Drishti
Looking Place: Third eye
Pose Example: Purvottanasana, Matsyasana
Name: Nabi Chakra Drishti
Looking Place: Navel
Pose Example: Adho Mukha Svanasana
4th Drishti
Name: Hastagrai Drishti
Looking Place: Hand
Pose Example: Trikonasana
Name: Padhayoragrai
Looking Place: Toes
Pose Example: Sarvangasana and in most seated forward bends poses
6th Drishti
Name: Parsva Drishti
Looking Place: Far to the right
Pose Example: Supta Padangusthasana
7th Drishti
Name: Parsva Drishti
Looking Place: Far to the left
Pose Example: Marichyasana
8th Drishti
Name: Angustha Ma Dyai Drishti
Looking Place: Thumbs
Pose Example: Urdhva Hastasana
9th Drishti
Name: Urdhva Drishti or Antara Drishti
Looking Place: Up to the sky
Pose Example: Virbhadarasana A
A fixed gaze can help specially in all kind of balancing asana like Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana and you would be able to hold pose in long time with ease.
At different times during the day focus your gaze at specific points and see what it takes to make you look away.
Next time when you are in practice, observe where your focal point is? Would it be on one of the nine “Drishti” or the new hair style of your classmate? Or on the next mat? You decide.
Keep Practice

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