I was at yoga yesterday morning in my tree pose (I go 3-4 times a week). I was having a really good balance day and I could see the girl in front of me was not having a great balancing day in her tree pose. Sometimes I have bad balancing days too, but it made me think about why I was having such a good balance day, and typically why I’m pretty good at balancing poses in general.
Beyond just practicing yoga for a long time (on and off for 9 years), I have found one of the secrets to balancing in a yoga pose is your drishti.
The instructor will sometimes mention your drishti, but sometimes they don’t. Back when I did Bikram yoga regularly (which includes a lot of balancing poses) they would talk about your drishti almost every class, so it’s just something that is ingrained in me since then.
Simply defined drishti is a focused gaze. More specifically (according to Yogipedia) it is a Sanskrit word meaning “sight” and refers to the gazing technique practiced while holding a yoga pose.
In its simplest form and use in yoga, it just means that when you are trying to do a balancing pose (or any pose), focus your gaze on something that isn’t moving. A light fixture, the corner of a window, a sweat spot on your yoga mat. Anything that isn’t moving. Do not move your eyes from that spot and it will help you focus and balance. I find it extremely helpful in so many poses. I use it in every yoga class multiple times throughout the class.
So if you hear a yoga instructor in class say find your drishti, now you know they are telling you to find a spot to focus on to help you balance. There are deeper meanings to it if you want to go deeper, but that is what it means in a simple form that you can use in your practice!
Did you know what a drishti was? Do you use it in your yoga practice?